Prisoner Rights

This course will provide Iranians, particularly support networks of political prisoners, with the knowledge and skillset to safely and effectively advocate for prisoner rights with strong focus on the lack of judicial process and the mistreatment of political prisoners. The course will examine international standards for prisoner rights such as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, juxtaposing these with the Iranian penal code. Participants will learn about prison conditions in Iran, including prisoner health, overcrowding, and solitary confinement; pre-trial detention and violations of due process; torture and rape of prisoners; and executions. All of these will be viewed in the context of the crushing of dissent in totalitarian regimes, both in Iran and around the world. The rights of women and children in prison, including the UN Bangkok Rules and Beijing Rules, will be highlighted, as will the rights and needs of the family of political prisoners, including rights to visitation and need for economic support. Participants will gain the knowledge and skills to advocate for an end to cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions of confinement, prisoner abuse and torture, and increased public accountability and transparency of jails. They will also explore proposals for penal reform, taking into account safety, rehabilitation, human rights, and the effective use of limited resources. Different prisoner rights advocacy strategies will be presented, including: ways political prisoners’ families can use the Iranian and international media to publicize their loved ones’ cases; how family members and activists can network with international organizations, gain global solidarity, and put pressure on the Iranian government; and how online tools such as blogs and social media can be used to raise awareness of Iranian prison conditions and press for transparency and accountability.

 

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