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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Iran, notably the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh

11.12.2018 - (2018/2967(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Branislav Škripek, Ryszard Czarnecki, Valdemar Tomaševski, Bas Belder, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Ruža Tomašić, Urszula Krupa, Pirkko Ruohonen‑Lerner, Raffaele Fitto on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0562/2018

Proċedura : 2018/2967(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Iran, notably the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran;


- having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy;


- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;


- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);


- having regard to the United Nations Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of those facing the Death Penalty;


- having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights;


- having regard to the Council decision of 12 April 2018 to extend its restrictive measures for a further 12 months in response to serious human rights violations in Iran;


- having regard to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran;


- having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty;


- having regard to the most recent Universal Periodic Review on Iran of 2014;


- having regard to the report by Amnesty International on 4 December 2018, Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity;


- having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure;


A. whereas in 2018 Iranian authorities have stepped up their repression of those seeking to peacefully exercise the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and have jailed hundreds of people on broad and vaguely worded national security charges;


B. whereas those targeted include human rights defenders, lawyers, women’s rights activists, minority rights activists, environmental activists, trade unionists, anti-death penalty campaigners, lawyers, and those seeking truth, justice and reparation for the mass executions and enforced disappearances of the 1980s;

C. whereas prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested on 13 June 2018 and faces several national security related charges, largely in connection with her work as a lawyer defending women who have been prosecuted for peacefully protesting against the forced wearing of the hijab; whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh began a hunger strike on 25 August 2018 to protest her treatment, following her sentencing in absentia on 15 August 2018 to five years in prison for “propaganda against the state”, “assembly against national security” and “espionage”; whereas Nasrin Sotoudeh has been banned from seeing her children and family;


D. whereas Amirsalar Davoudi is the eighth human rights lawyer to be jailed in Iran since June 2018; whereas he has been charged with “propaganda against the state” and has been kept in solitary confinement in Evin Prison;


E. whereas imprisoned human rights defender Farhad Meysami has been on a hunger strike since 1 August 2018 in protest of his unlawful detention and has reportedly lost over half his body weight;


F. whereas the “evidence” used against Narges Mohammadi, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence on national security-related charges for her peaceful human rights work, included her meeting with the European Union’s former High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, on International Women’s Day in 2014;


G. whereas Arash Sadeghi has been deprived of potentially life-saving medical care while serving 19 years in prison on national security-related charges based entirely on his human rights work, including communicating with Amnesty International and members of the European Parliament;


H. whereas legal expert, economist and environmentalist Farshid Haki was allegedly murdered, cut in pieces and burnt in his car in October 2018, as part of a larger persecution of environmental activists in Iran, especially in regards to the targeting of Seyed Emami and at least four other activists who have been sentenced to death;


I. whereas Esmail Bakhshi, the representative of the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Workers’ Union, along with Sepideh Qelian and Moslem Armand, were severely tortured while in custody since November 2018;


J. whereas Iran continues to discriminate against their minority groups, including reportedly sending Afghan immigrant and refugee children to fight in Syria as part of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps;


K. whereas since 1979, Iranian authorities have killed or executed more than 200 Baha’i leaders and more than 10,000 have been dismissed from government and university jobs;


L. whereas the Iranian officials have undertaken a campaign to shutter Baha’i-owned businesses whenever the community observes its religious holidays, while degradation of the deceased was used in the case of Shamsi Aghdasi, whose remains were forcibly exhumed and displaced from their initial burial, and at least 92 Baha’is have been held in Iran’s prisons as of November 2017 because of their religious beliefs;


M. whereas on 8 September 2018, the Iranian government executed three Iranian Kurdish men, Zaniar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Romain Hossein Panahi, who received completely unfair trials, as they were denied access to their lawyers and families after their arrest, and were reportedly tortured into making forced confessions, while Zeynab Jalalian, a notable female Kurdish activist in Iran, remains in Khoy prison and is reportedly subjected to torture and is being denied medical care despite her deteriorating health;


N. whereas the Iranian government continuously persecutes the Gonabadi Dervishes, the largest Sufi order in Iran, destroying their houses of worship and detaining over a thousand of their members; whereas their persecution has increased after an October 2010 speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in which he denounced the Dervishes for “false mysticism”; whereas eight Members of the Gonabadi Devishes have protested their torture in prison in March 2018 and were reported to be in urgent need of medical care;


O. whereas Victor Bet-Tamraz, Amin Afshar-Naderi, Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi, and Hadi Asgari all have been recently sentenced for a combined total of 45 years in prison for forming or being a part of a house church, and since June 2018, Iran has imprisoned more than a dozen Christians for participating in house churches;


P. whereas Iranian courts, and particularly revolutionary courts, regularly fall short of providing fair trials and use confessions obtained under torture as evidence in court; whereas authorities also routinely restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel, particularly during the investigation period;


Q. whereas the number of executions in Iran this year is 215, as of November 14;


R. whereas at the end of December 2017, thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest against poverty, corruption and political repression, in the first anti-establishment demonstrations on such a scale since 2009;


S. whereas since November 2018, Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) workers have poured into the streets protesting overdue wages, hardship and mismanagement of the complex; whereas over 4,000 employees have not been paid for at least three months;


T. whereas the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;

U. whereas the objectives of EU-Iran relations include improvements in economic development, prosperity, the environment, people-to-people contacts, and human rights;


V. whereas in March the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran; whereas the Iranian authorities continue to deny her and other UN experts entry to the country;


W. whereas the EU and Iran have started working towards renewing a bilateral human rights dialogue while several human rights defenders served prison sentences imposed for communicating with EU and UN officials;


X. whereas the US State Department outlined that Iran remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism in 2018, providing political, financial, operational and logistical support to a variety of groups listed in both the EU Terrorist Lists and US List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations;



1. Calls on Iran to end the abuse of the criminal justice system to repress peaceful activities that promote and defend human rights, and ensure a safe and enabling environment where it is possible to defend and promote human rights without fear of reprisal, punishment or intimidation;

2. Calls on the Iranian authorities to halt all acts of intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders, including for communicating with EU and UN officials and independent human rights organizations;


3. Calls on the Iranian authorities to demonstrate that they are fully committed to cooperating with the international community in improving the human rights situation in Iran; stresses the need for closer engagement with the Human Rights Council and UN human rights mechanisms;


4. Reaffirms that respect for human rights is a core component in the development of EU-Iran relations;


5. Expresses concern over the use of coerced confessions as well as detainees’ inability to access legal representation during interrogations, serious allegations of abuse during pre-charge and pre-trial detention, and the trial of civilians before revolutionary courts;


6. Stresses that independence from political interference and ensuring a free trial are essential in developing a modern code of criminal procedure and indispensable in addressing human rights issues;


7. Calls on Iran to release immediately and unconditionally Farhad Meysami, Narges Mohammadi, Arash Sadeghi, Golrokh Iraeee, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and all other human rights defenders imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, including through their human rights work;

8. Calls on Iran to ensure that Farhad Meysami, Narges Mohammadi and Arash Sadeghi are given immediate access to the specialized medical care they need in a medical facility outside of prison, in compliance with international standards and medical ethics, including the principles of confidentially, autonomy and informed consent;

9. Expresses its serious concern at the steadily deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, including and especially for persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, due to systematic political, economic, social, and cultural discrimination;

10. Calls on the Iranian authorities to eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, officially recognised or otherwise; demands that all persons belonging to minorities be allowed to exercise all the rights enshrined in the Iranian constitution and in international law, including the guarantees stipulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Iran is a party;

11. Calls on the Iranian authorities to drop charges and release individuals who have been imprisoned for practicing their minority faiths and urges the Iranian authorities to release all activists who are currently imprisoned for their peaceful advocacy of minority rights;

12. Calls on the Iranian authorities to respect the right of ethnic minorities to use their own languages, in private and public, and in particular to guarantee education in minority languages, in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran;

13. Calls on the Iranian authorities to guarantee religious freedom in accordance with the Iranian constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to put a stop in practice to discrimination against and harassment of religious minorities such as non-Shia Muslims, including Assyrians and other Christian groups, the systematic persecution of the Baha'i minority and the application of the death penalty to converts from Islam;

14. Urges the government to prohibit the execution of juveniles and commute all capital sentences currently faced by juveniles;

15. Reiterates the 4 December 2018 call by Amnesty International on the UN and International community to set up an independent investigation to address "impunity for the crimes against humanity" in Iran’s 1988 prison massacres, as well as the ongoing enforced disappearance of the victims and the torture and other ill-treatment of victims’ families; 

16. Calls on Iranian authorities to ensure that prompt, thorough, independent and impartial criminal investigations are conducted into all allegations of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture and crimes against humanity related to the mass killings carried out in July-September 1988


17. Reaffirms its readiness to engage in human rights dialogue with Iran at all levels on the basis of universal values as enshrined in the UN Charter and UN conventions;


18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EEAS, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Members of the Iranian Majlis.



Aġġornata l-aħħar: 11 ta' Diċembru 2018
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