Justice for Iran- January 30th, 2019:

In a joint letter to the European Union Council, 13 international and Iranian human rights organisations have requested the sanctioning of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcast (IRIB), and seven officials responsible for the broadcast of forced confessions extracted from political prisoners on the 20:30 news bulletin.

Following numerous recent accounts regarding the active role of IRIB reporters (particularly the 20:30 news bulletin) in interrogations and the extraction of forced confessions in Iran, by human rights activists and the families of political prisoners ; these 13 human rights organisations are requesting that the international community take effective steps to stop the production of programmes produced through the torture and intimidation of political prisoners of conscience.

In this letter the signatories write: ’We, the undersigned of this joint letter, remain gravely concerned about the ongoing and systematic use of televised confessions obtained under torture and ill-treatment in Iran. Our concern is compounded and rendered more urgent by the fact that, in the framework of the widespread waves of crackdowns and mass violations of human rights in Iran, observed during recent unrests and uprisings in November 2019, many detainees identified by the authorities as alleged leaders face the risk of forced televised confessions. There is a further risk that the content will be used against them for harsher sentences, even risking the possibility of facing the death penalty. Since mid-November 2019 and the repression of the recent nationwide protests, the IRIB has already broadcast at least 22 forced televised confessions that they obtained from detainees.’

The signatory organisations have requested that the European Union sanction not only the IRIB as an institution, but also place the following individuals on the list of human rights sanctions:

– Abdol Ali Asgari, head of the IRIB, for his role and position as a decision maker;
– Majid Akhondi, Deputy of political and security planning at the IRIB, for his key role in the production of IRIB news programmes which have political and security functions;
– Mohammad Reza Jafari Jelveh, the manager of IRIB’s Channel 2, for his managerial role in the channel that hosts the 20:30 news bulletin;
– Ameneh Sadat Zabih-Pour, Ali Rezvani, Yousef Salami and Hamid Emami, reporters and members of the 20:30 news bulletin production team.

If these individuals are added to the European Union’s human rights list, they will be barred from entering Europe and all their assets in Europe will be confiscated.
In previous years, the European Union has sanctioned Ezatollah Zar Ghami, (previous head of IRIB), Mohammad Sar Afraz (previous deputy of IRIB’s international affairs), Mohammad Reza Emami (manager of Press TV) for their role in the recording and broadcast of forced confessions of political prisoners, as well as show trials.

Article 19, Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijan People (AHRAZ), Impact Iran, Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM), Siamak Pourzand Foundation, Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran, Kurdistan Human Rights- Geneva (KMMK-G), Outright Action, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Iran Human Rights, All Human Rights for All in Iran, 6Rang (Iranian Lesbian & Transgender Network) and Justice for Iran are the signatory organisations supporting this collective letter.