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Human Rights Trampled In Iran

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad has said that "all human beings should be respected. . . .all have the right to a dignified life and to enjoy justice." But many say these words are meaningless in light of what is happening in Iran.

The monitoring group Amnesty International has issued a statement condemning "the new arrests and detentions in Iran targeting human rights activists, minority community activists, and others peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association."

One of those detained is democratic activist and former Iranian parliamentarian Ali Akbar Mousavi-Khoini. In June he was arrested during a peaceful demonstration for women's rights in Tehran. On September 21, under heavy guard, he was allowed to attend a memorial service for his father. At the service, Mr. Khoini called out that he was being tortured in Evin prison "to denounce my beliefs, to repent for my activities, and to ask forgiveness from [Iranian supreme leader Ali] Khamenei."

Ahmad Batebi is also in grave danger in Evin prison. Mr. Batebi became a symbol for pro-democracy student demonstrators in 1999. A widely reproduced photograph shows him holding up the bloody shirt of a fellow protestor who had been beaten by security forces. Eventually sentenced to ten years, Mr. Batebi was temporarily released in 2005. He was re-arrested in July after giving an interview to a U.S. newspaper. Amnesty International says Ahmad Batebi's physical and psychological health is deteriorating, and he is being denied treatment for medical problems that are the result of torture.

The U.S. has called for the release of Ahmad Batebi and all those imprisoned for defending human rights. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush told the Iranian people they deserve something other than repression:

"An opportunity to determine your own future, an economy that rewards your intelligence and your talents, and a society that allows you to fulfill your tremendous potential."

"The greatest obstacle to this future," said Mr. Bush, "is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.