April 9, 2011
Iran pursued a campaign of violence and intimidation against its own people in 2010, committing extrajudicial killings and using amputation and flogging as punishments, according to a State Department report released today.
The 35th annual human rights report, which covers 194 countries, documents in a detailed 69-page chapter the torture, beatings, rape and group executions carried out by Iran’s security forces.
“We have multiple reports that the government summarily executed more than 300 people in 2010,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today. She cited the case of four Kurdish men who were arrested for human rights advocacy and hung in May. “They were reported to have confessed to terrorism under torture,” Clinton said.
The U.S. has no embassy in Iran and relied heavily on non- U.S. government sources, according to a footnote. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran.
In 2010, Iranian officials cracked down on women’s rights activists, ethnic minorities such as the Kurdish men, student activists, religious minorities and homosexuals.
In Iran, even a call to prayer is considered a call to dissent. One female student, Saeedeh Pouraghai, was arrested in September 2009 for chanting “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great” from the rooftop of her Tehran home. Two days later, authorities summoned Pouraghai’s mother to identify and claim her body, which reportedly had been partially burned to hide evidence of rape and torture.
The government confiscated property of religious minorities, especially members of the Baha’i faith, and used Iran’s national security law to try others in court.
Clinton mentioned, in particular, discrimination against homosexuals. “I believe, and our government believes, that gay rights are human rights,” she said. “We remain extremely concerned about state-sanctioned homophobia.”
In 2008, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called homosexual activity an “unlikable and foreign act” that “shakes the foundations of society.” Under Iranian law, consensual sex between men is a capital crime.