Western governments must increase their protection of Iranian civil society abroad.

By April 12, 2024 No Comments

Justice for Iran expresses grave concern about the significant increase in pressure on journalists, human rights defenders, and the entire Iranian civil society in exile. It warns the international community, especially European governments, about the consequences of the Iranian regime’s threats against freedom of expression and the activities of Iranian civil society.


The solidarity of Iranian civil society and human rights organisations and their successful efforts in informing the public, establishing and strengthening independent mechanisms for investigating and documenting the Islamic Republic’s gross human rights violations, especially during the deadly suppression of “Women Life Freedom ” movement, has infuriated the Iranian authorities. These authorities have repeatedly threatened journalists and human rights defenders abroad from official platforms.


The threats have now reached a more dangerous level. The prosecution of crime leaders involved in the murder plot , orchestrated by the Islamic Republic, against Masih Alinejad, a human rights activist based in the United States and the malicious knife attack on Pouria Zeraati, journalist working for the Iran International outlet, described by British security authorities as a planned attack, demonstrate the severity and extent of the danger faced by Iranian civil society abroad. While these attacks are still under investigation by the UK counter-terrorism police, they certainly remind us of the explicit threats by Ismail Qaani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, responsible for directing cross-border terrorist operations of this military organisation, who recently publicly threatened to kill all those engaged in media activities outside Iran.


Simultaneously, the threats against members of the Hengaw Human Rights Organisation and their families by a judicial official on state television, the threats to kill members of this organisation by individuals associated with the Quds Force, and the subsequent disappearance of Hossein Bagheri, known as “Jakan Baran,” one of the colleagues of this organisation, on the Turkish-Iraqi border while fleeing due to threats and persecutions, indicate the extent to which the authorities of the Islamic Republic have become emboldened in attacking Iranian civil society.


Justice for Iran expresses solidarity with all journalists and human rights defenders targeted by the Islamic Republic’s attacks and declares that such actions will never deter Iranian civil society from striving for free and independent information dissemination, protecting human rights, and holding human rights violators accountable.


Justice for Iran also calls on European governments and other countries where the Islamic Republic has organised or carried out such threats to take action to protect individuals under threat and identify the perpetrators and instigators. Justice for Iran also seeks support from international organisations, particularly Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Irene Khan, the UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression, to condemn the threats by the Islamic Republic against journalists and human rights defenders and reflect these attacks in their reports to the international community.