Despite Rouhani’s “moderacy”, or perhaps because of it, things in Iran seeem to be going from bad to worse. Rouhani’s promises for changes in the state of human rights appealed to his voters but also ruffled up quite a few feathers among hardliners who want to maintain the status quo “gained” ander Ahmadinejad.
Human rights lawyers and journalists seem to be on the front line with poilitcal opposition activists and minorities – anyone whose presence reminds the hardliners by their presence that the criticism against the state of human rights in Iran is horrid.
Nasrin Sotoodeh is a human rights lawyer who was jailed, relleased and re-jailed following protest over the acid attacks against women in Iran. She spent 3 years in Evin prison and was awarded the Sakharov prize for freedom of thought. She was also under a ten-year ban from practicing, and although the ban was released, it is now re-instated.
Jason Rezaian is an American-Iranian journalist working for the Washington Post in Iran. He was arrested for charges that range from sedition to spying and has been in jail for over three months with limited access to his lawyer nor communication to his family. He was arrested with his wife who was subsequently released.
Of course, these two do not represent the thousands of people who are rotting in prisons in Iran for charges which would seem ludicrous anywhere else in the world. But they do represent the problem olying behind Rouhani’s promises: as the rates of hangings increase and as persecutions of religious/sexual minorities are on the rise, the inability of Rouhani to deal with these two high-profile cases exemplifies the stalemate in Iran – human “wrongs” in Iran are getting worse and Rouhani remains silent.
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