The U.S.-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Iranian civil society has been subjected to a "campaign of repression" since the contested reelection of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
In a fresh report released on December 14, HRW said the political opposition, rights activists, and journalists have been targeted ever since the mass protests that followed Ahmadinejad's declared victory.
HRW said activists had been subjected to "extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and widespread infringements of Iranians' rights to freedom of assembly and expression."
HRW cited UN figures showing a rise in the number of Iranians seeking asylum. HRW said some 11,500 Iranians sought asylum in 2009. The number rose to 18,000 in 2011.
HRW called on Iraq's Kurdish region and Turkey -- the most popular destinations for fleeing Iranians -- to more quickly process asylum requests.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP