Taheri’s Name in Amnesty’s 2015/2016 Annual Report on Iran

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Source: Amnesty International

Amnesty Annual report 2015-2016 Iran

The authorities severely curtailed the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, arresting and imprisoning journalists, human rights defenders, trade unionists and others who voiced dissent, on vague and overly broad charges. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common and was committed with impunity; prison conditions were harsh. Unfair trials continued, in some cases resulting in death sentences. Women and members of ethnic and religious minorities faced pervasive discrimination in law and in practice. The authorities carried out cruel punishments, including blinding, amputation and floggings. Courts imposed death sentences for a range of crimes; many prisoners, including at least four juvenile offenders, were executed.


Negotiations between Iran and the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, resulted with Iran agreeing in July to restrict its nuclear development programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

In March, the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran; the Iranian authorities continued to deny him entry to Iran and to prevent access by other UN experts. The Human Rights Council also formally adopted the outcome of its second UPR of Iran. Iran accepted 130 recommendations, partially accepted 59 others, and rejected 102. Those rejected included recommendations that Iran ratify the UN Convention against Torture and CEDAW, and cease using the death penalty against those aged under 18 at the time of the alleged crime.

Freedom of religion and belief

Members of religious minorities, including Baha’is, Sufis, Yaresan (Ahl-e Haq), Christian converts from Islam, Sunni Muslims, and Shi’a Muslims who became Sunni, faced discrimination in employment and restrictions on their access to education and freedom to practise their faith. There were reports of arrest and imprisonment of dozens of Baha’is, Christian converts and members of other religious minorities, including for providing education for Baha’i students who are denied access to higher education.

The authorities continued to destroy sacred sites of Baha’is, Sunnis and Sufis including their cemeteries and places of worship.

In August, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran convicted Mohammad Ali Taheri of “spreading corruption on earth” for establishing a spiritual doctrine and group called Erfan-e Halgheh, and sentenced him to death. He had previously received a five-year prison term and been sentenced to 74 lashes and a fine in 2011 for allegedly “insulting Islamic sanctities”.9 Prison sentences were also issued against several of his followers. In December, the Supreme Court overturned his sentence due to “incomplete investigations” and remanded the case to the Court of First Instance.

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