Policy Areas

Freedom of expression in Iran

Norway has aligned with an EU declaration on the freedom of expression in Iran, published in Brussels on 26 July 2006.

The declaration reads as follows:

The European Union expresses its serious concern about the deteriorating situation with regard to the freedom of expression and the status of human rights defenders in Iran. The EU calls on Iran to implement fully its international human rights obligations, notably those contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which guarantees the right to form and join trade unions. Notwithstanding these international obligations, the EU has noted with concern a number of recent cases where human rights defenders, including lawyers and labour protesters, have been detained or sentenced to lengthy prison terms as a result of thepeaceful exercise of their rights.

According to information received, Mr Abdolfattah Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer, was sentenced to five years in prison and five years of deprivation of civil rights on the grounds of revealing classified information and publicizing anti-regime propaganda. This sentence was taken by a penal revolutionary tribunal, behind closed doors. The EU only recognizes the judiciary decisions taken after a fair and public trial conducted by an impartial and independent tribunal established by law. Mr Ali-Akbar Mousavi Khoeini, a former member of the Majlis, was arrested during a demonstration in support of women´s rights on 12 June, and continues to be in solitary confinement and reportedly without proper access to legal representation and in poor health. Two lawyers Farshid Yadollahiand Omid Behrouzi who acted in human rights relevant cases on behalf of Sufis in Qom, have now themselves received sentences to one year in prison, 74 strokes of the lash and fines. In addition, the EU has received information on the recent arrests of nine labour protesters in Tehran in the context of a peaceful demonstration for allegedly disturbing public order.
The EU calls on Iran to refrain from punishing individuals for peacefully exercising their rights as guaranteed in international human rights conventions, including the right to freedom of expression.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

(26 July 2006)


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