HRC 25 Statement of Abbas Hakimzadeh on behalf of CIVICUS
Statement of exiled student activist and former political prisoner Abbas Hakimzadeh on behalf of CIVICUS under agenda item 4 at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
I am reading this statement on behalf of CIVICUS
Esteemed Members of this Council,
My name is Abbas Hakimzadeh. I was a student of computer science at Tehran’s Polytechnic University. Between 2007 and 2009, I was banned from enrollment for three years, and arrested three times for my student activities like running a publication on campus that addressed human rights and democracy. I spent months in solitary confinement. I was tortured by my interrogators to coerce a false confession that I was connected to a terrorist group.
I was eventually released, but forced to flee my country. My friends however are still in prison. Bahareh Hedayat , Zia Nabavi, Majid Tavakoli, and Majid Dorri are serving collective sentences of 35 years in prison. Just last month, another one of us – Maryam Shafi’pour – was sentenced to seven years.
We are not alone. We have documented hundreds of cases of prisoners of conscience in Iran today. Their freedom has been taken from them solely because of what they believe, their choice of profession, and lifestyle.
The situation in Iran is not improving despite pledges by President Rouhani, who was elected in part to improve human rights. Today, the Government is systematically putting people to death in increased numbers in the absence of fair trials.
Newspapers continue to be shut down and journalists, bloggers and editors arrested.
The new “Citizen’s Rights Charter” does nothing meaningful to address state-sanctioned inequalities among Iran’s citizens, or to remove severe restrictions on speech, assembly and association.
We ask this Council to work even harder to urge our Government to respect our rights. We urge this Council to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, a mandate that belongs first and foremost to the Iranian people.