Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations, including by those opposed to the current government, on 11 February, the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Various officials from the police and the judiciary have warned in recent days that anti-government demonstrations will be not be tolerated.
Amnesty International fears that the comments made by officials, and the wave of arrests, unfair trials and executions illustrated below presage renewed violence on the part of the state, should people heed the calls made by unsuccessful presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to take to the streets to peacefully voice their opinions.
Amnesty International fully recognizes the Iranian authorities’ duty and responsibility to safeguard the public and maintain order but this does not justify the suppression of peaceful protests, as has happened repeatedly over recent months, nor violence by state forces against peaceful demonstrators. All policing must be conducted in accordance with internationally recognized standards relating to policing and the use of force, and should be conducted by appropriately-trained law enforcement personnel – not the politically-partisan volunteer Basij militia, which has a record of committing serious human rights violations and is neither trained nor equipped for proper police work. No one should be subjected to assault and strong-arm treatment by the security forces and any persons accused of violent acts, such as stone-throwing or criminal damage, should be charged and tried fairly in full conformity with Iran’s obligations under international law.
Naj reports early stories of the locking down of the capital and of dissenters. An interview with Mousavi last week, carried on the website Kalameh-
Mr. Mousavi, referring to himself as an ordinary man among tens of millions, emphasized that the Green Movement belongs to all strands of the Iranian nation and invited people from all walks of life to march peacefully on the 22nd of Bahman 2010 (11th of February 2010). He also asked all Iranians including the security services, police, Basij, and Sepah and all Iranians to respect each other and to refrain from violence as the international community is closely watching the development in Iran. Mr. Mousavi further stated that he had no representative abroad; however, he also added that, “The resilience of being in the Green Movement is that everyone is expressing their views in an atmosphere of contemplation and calm wherein I also express my views in our shared destiny.”
Twitter #22Bahman has reports of opposition supporters shouting Allahu Akbar across the rooftops of Tehran. Even as our governments continue to create theatrical events to discredit Iran, the key is people not government, I wish Iranians well and to those who seek to harm them within and without, we are sick of your power games. A small but interesting poll, that you can also vote in.