Ban urges end to arrests, use of force amid post-election violence in Iran

Iranian police on motorbikes patrol a street in Tehran22 June 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged an immediate end to the arrests, threats and use of force taking place in Iran amid the post-election violence that has already claimed a number of lives.

Media reports say nearly 20 people have died in the unrest that has followed the 12 June presidential polls. Opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has contested the results of the vote, which he says was fixed in favour of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr. Ban “is dismayed by the post-election violence, particularly the use of force against civilians, which has led to the loss of life and injuries,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

“He urges an immediate stop to the arrests, threats and use of force,” the statement added.

The Secretary-General called on the authorities to respect fundamental civil and political rights, especially the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of information.

He also called on the Government and the opposition to peacefully resolve their differences through dialogue and legal means, and reiterated his hope that the democratic will of the people of Iran will be fully respected.

Last week, the United Nations human rights chief, Navi Pillay, voiced concern over reports of the use of excessive force and violence, as well as rising numbers of potentially extralegal arrests in the post-election period.

Source: UN News Centre