Home Page > News Item > Iran: freedom of expression during protests should be respected

5 January 2018 – PEN International is alarmed by the continued escalating repression surrounding a series of protests across Iran, which started on 28 December. According to reports, protestors have been highlighting issues such as poor economic conditions and corruption. There has also been overt criticism of the Iranian regime and its foreign policy. According to recent reports, over 500 people have been arrested, and at least 22 people have been killed.

The organisation is also concerned at reports of restrictions on social media use and blocking of social media apps, in response to public protests. The Iranian authorities should respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and refrain from using lethal force.

The whole world has been watching the recent protests in Iran. We are worried by the large numbers of arrests, the deaths of protestors and reports of excessive use of force. We urge the government to uphold the fundamental rights to peaceful protest and free speech.” – said Ebony Riddell- Bamber, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at PEN International.

President Hassan Rouhani has highlighted that “people have the right to criticise” and we urge the Iranian authorities to follow through with this commitment by:

  • Upholding the rights to freedom of expression and assembly in line with its constitution and international obligations;
  • Ensuring that excessive force is not used to suppress dissent or criticism of the regime;
  • Respecting the right to share, receive and impart information through the internet by removing any restrictions on social media;
  • Enabling media organisations and citizens to freely cover and report on protests;
  • Ensuring that no one is being detained for exercising their right to peaceful protest;
  • Conducting prompt and impartial investigations into the deaths during recent protests.

For further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK, Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Email: nael.georges@pen-international.org

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