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Iran - Mar 1, 2012 - 11:21

Last modified: 1 Mar 2012 08:21

Amnesty International reports that Iran has "dramatically escalated" its crackdown on freedom of expression ahead of this week's parliamentary election.

 

An Amnesty report published on Tuesday entitled "We are ordered to crush you: Expanding Repression of Dissent in Iran" details repressive acts by the Iranian authorities since February 2011, including a recent wave of arrests.

The arrests, Amnesty said, have targeted lawyers, students, journalists, political activists and their relatives, as  well as religious and ethnic minorities, film-makers and people with international connections, particularly to media.

"In Iran today you put yourself at risk if you do anything that might fall outside the increasingly narrow confines of what the authorities deem socially or politically acceptable," said Ann Harrison, interim deputy director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa programme.

"Anything from setting up a social group on the Internet, forming or joining an NGO, or expressing your opposition to the status quo can land you in prison," she said.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who were defeated in the controversial presidential elections in 2009, have been under de facto house arrest since February 2011.

"This dreadful record really highlights the hypocrisy of the Iranian government's attempts to show solidarity with protesters in Egypt, Bahrain and other countries in the region," Amnesty said.

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