prosecute individuals who peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association
and assembly including journalists and media workers, trade unionists, and lawyers. 11 12 13 14
NGOs have reported a pattern of violations to the aforementioned human rights targeting
disproportionately members of minority or marginalised groups.15 16
Additionally, the Iranian Islamic Penal Code (2013) contains provisions which directly
discriminate between girls and boys under the criminal justice system. One of the most telling
examples is the age of criminal responsibility, which is set at nine lunar years for girls
(equivalent to eight years, nine months) and fifteen lunar years for boys (equivalent of fourteen
years, seven months).17 According to Article 638 of the Penal Code, girls as young as 9 years old
can be sentenced to prison if they do not wear the compulsory hijab. Iranian authorities have
been arresting and detaining women for not wearing a hijab or wearing an improper hijab.18 19 20

The Islamic Penal Code also prescribes different penalties depending on the religion of
the perpetrator and/or the victim of some crimes. Harsher penalties are applied to non-Muslim
individuals for the same offence.22
Despite the existence of several mechanisms that ostensibly accept complaints regarding violations
of citizens' rights, such as the Article 90 Commission of the parliament (established based on
Article 90 of the Constitution, offering a mechanism to citizens to file complaint against any of
the three branches of power) and the Oversight Bodies for the exercise of Citizenship Rights in the
country's provincial courts, there is no evidence to suggest that complaints to these bodies are
independently reviewed and investigated.23 Additionally, as many discriminatory provisions are


See more : ARTICLE 19, Small Media, Human Rights Activists in Iran, Impact Iran, Human Rights Committee, 129 session
(Geneva) 29 June – 24 July 2020,
See more: Iran Human Rights,
See more: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
See more: Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort,
“Aliresza Farshi has been released from Evin,” HRNA News Agency. 11 April 2020.
“Iran arrests 29 linked to protests against compulsory hijab laws”, New York Times, 2 February 2018.
Criminal responsibility, Articles 140, 146 and 147 of the Islamic Penal Code, 2013
Center for Human Rights in Iran,
Iran Human Rights Monitor,
See more: Minority Rights Group,
Examples: Article 224 (p) and Note 1 to Article 234, Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights
Documentation Center,
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee, Abdorrahman Center, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC),
Impact Iran and Human Rights Activists in Iran, 2020,


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