Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Publish date: March 25 • Printable version    

"Coordinated attack" on Iranian human rights groups

Human Rights Watch condemned Islamic Republic’s “new coordinated attack” on human rights groups in Iran after the Islamic Republic accused human rights groups of fronting for foreign plots.

The state-owned media, judiciary and security forces have initiated an attack on human rights groups under the guise of “defending the country against cyber warfare,” Human Rights Watch claims.

Last week Tehran’s Revolutionary court announced that they have arrested 30 people in connection with a network “funded by the CIA with the objective of destabilizing the regime through cyber warfare.”

Human Rights Watch condemned the “arbitrary” arrest of human rights activists, blocking of human rights organization websites and attempts at tying civil society groups to foreign intelligence organizations or terrorist groups.

According to Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch,: “Yet again, the government has drawn upon its tired playbook of foreign espionage and conspiracy theories to silence the few remaining critical voices in the country.”

Stork described these actions as a “desperate tactic” to suppress human rights activists adding that if anyone should be accused of cyber warfare, it is the Islamic Republic that has been waging an all out propaganda attack against human rights groups and tried to monopolize cyber space for its own purposes.

Iranian judiciary claims a network of opposition groups have been running a project codenamed “Iran Proxy” under the guise of Iranian human rights groups such as Human Rights Reporters Committee, Defenders of Human Rights Centre and Human Rights Activists in Iran.

The judiciary contends that this network is responsible for “hacking into government sites, organizing and supporting foreign opposition and terrorist groups, organizing illegal gatherings, publishing falsehoods, espionage and engaging in psychological warfare.”

The identities of the detainees connected with these recent charges have not been revealed yet and human rights groups are concerned that their recently arrested colleagues may be accused of these crimes.

The three human rights groups who have been specifically accused by the government of being involved in the so-called “Iran Proxy” plot have announced that they are in no way involved in such a plot and officially insisted on their complete independence from any foreign ties.

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