Iran, November 18, 2020—Over 159,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 465 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, as of Wednesday afternoon local time, November 18. The official death toll declared by the regime stands at 42,941, nearly a fourth of the actual figure.
The coronavirus death toll in various provinces include: 38,941 in Tehran, 8955 in Isfahan, 6705 in Lorestan, 6540 in Qom, 6472 in Mazandaran, 5969 in East Azerbaijan, 5496 in in Gilan, 5328 in West Azerbaijan, 4357 in Fars, 4310 in Alborz, 3478 in Kermanshah, 3018 in Markazi (Central), 2850 in Kurdistan, 2767 in Yazd, 2704 in Kerman, 1760 in Ardabil, 1628 in Qazvin, 1500 in Zanjan, 1485 in Ilam, 1416 in South Khorasan, and 1114 in Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmed. This is in addition to reports obtained from other provinces.
Infographic-Over 159,000 dead of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran-Iran Coronavirus Death Toll per PMOI/MEK sources
Infographic-Over 159,000 dead of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran-Iran Coronavirus Death Toll per PMOI/MEK sources
“There are various remarks regarding the stats. Some increase in numbers could be due to chronic illnesses, including heart disease. However, people can get the numbers from the cemeteries and maybe on some days that the numbers are high, the general number of deaths, and suspected and possible daily Covid-19 deaths could reach four digits,” said the spokesperson for the regime’s Health Ministry on Wednesday. “We do not announce the number of possible or suspicious cases on a daily basis. The number of confirmed cases based on PCR tests are most likely higher. We are not seeking to hide any stats and with each passing day the precision in our stats increase. Around 50 percent of our Covid-19 patients hospitalized in ICUs are dying. Four of every 10,000 cases are contracting the virus for a second time,” she added, according to the regime’s official IRNA news agency.
Amnesty International reports that Iranian security forces killed at least 304 people, including children, during the five days of protest in November 2019, using unlawful lethal force by shooting the majority of people in the head or torso, “indicating intent to kill”.
This massacre was largely covered up at the time due to an internet blackout, designed to stop protesters from communicating with each other or the rest of the world, which obstructs the research into these human rights violations. To date, no one has been held accountable for this horrific crime.
Amnesty even admits that we may never know the true number of victims because of the cover-up, although they have done their best to share the stories of those we do know about on a new website dedicated to the protests.
What Happened in November 2019?
Protests erupted across Iran on November 15, 2019, in response to the government’s tripling of fuel prices overnight, which would hit impoverished people the hardest. This quickly turned into the biggest anti-establishment protests since the 1979 revolution, with people loudly and proudly calling for regime change.
Videos of the protests and the government’s crackdown appeared online, where they were authenticated and analyzed by Amnesty’s Digital Verification Corps. On November 16, Amnesty says that “at least 100 unarmed protesters and bystanders” were killed, even though international human rights law bans the use of lethal force unless there is an “imminent threat of death or serious injury”.
The government then ordered an internet blackout, which was confirmed by several freedoms of expression non-governmental organizations, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered the security forces to go further.
Between November 21 and 27, the internet was slowly restored, although much evidence of the state’s human rights abuses was lost. Many witnesses told Amnesty that they deleted videos and the like from their phones for fear of being caught with it.
Amnesty had already released the evidence of those first 100 deaths at this point, although Iran’s Mission to the United Nations and other Iranian authorities denied this. But, through relentless crosschecking of information from relatives, human rights activists, and journalists, Amnesty has now verified 304 people murdered by the security services, 220 of whom died within 48 hours of the internet shut down.
The verification is as follows:
233 identified by first and last name
Six by first or last name
65 by age, gender, and location of the injury
Those murdered in the indiscriminate killings include:
Mohammad Dastankhah, 15, shot in the heart and lungs on his way home from school
Azar Mirzapour, a 49-year-old nurse and mother of four, walking home from work, who had called her family to say she was just minutes away
Bahman Jafari, 28, was shot in the heart and stomach on his way to work
“In almost all protests that took place between 15 and 19 November, there is no evidence that protesters posed an imminent threat to life or of causing serious injury to another person,” Amnesty wrote.
As such, the use of firearms by the authorities was completely unwarranted. Information obtained from eyewitnesses suggested that, in most cases, security forces deliberately fired live ammunition at victims’ heads or torsos. This claim is supported by the description of injuries cited on 24 death or burial certificates seen by Amnesty International.”
Amnesty called for urgent action from the government but the sad truth is that justice will never be served while the ayatollahs are in power.
Iran, October 17, 2020—Over 126,300 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 458 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to reports tallied by the Iranian opposition as of Sunday afternoon local time, October 18. The official death toll declared by the regime stands at 30,375, around a fourth of the actual figure.
The coronavirus death toll in various provinces include: 30,311 in Tehran, 9465 in Razavi Khorasan, 6599 in Isfahan, 5702 in Mazandaran, 4478 in East Azerbaijan, 3558 in West Azerbaijan, 3468 in Alborz, 3343 in Hamedan, 3311 in Fars, 2763 in Kermanshah, 2251 in Kurdistan, 2154 in North Khorasan, 1948 in Kerman, 1801 in Yazd, 1630 in Hormozgan, 1448 in Ardabil, 1039 in Ilam, 962 in Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari, and 879 in Kohgiluyeh & Boyer Ahmed. This is in addition to reports obtained from other provinces.
“The number of cities in red conditions have increased from 187 to 215. This week the number of people seeking medical treatment for Covid-19, those hospitalized, and the death toll escalated in comparison to the week before,” said the spokesperson for the regime’s Health Ministry on Sunday. “The average number of people hospitalized in each hospital has reached 15.8 people for every 100,000 and we continue to witness a rise in the number of people hospitalized. The highest number of people hospitalized are in the provinces of Qom, Lorestan, Ilam, Kurdistan, Yazd, Semnan and South Khorasan. Conditions in Qom and Lorestan are far more concerning than the others. The average death toll is reported at 23.5 for each million people. This is around three people per million more than last week. The highest Covid-19 death toll are reported from the provinces of Qom, Markazi, Ilam, West Azerbaijan, Alborz and East Azerbaijan. The provinces of Qom, Markazi and Ilam are far more concerning than other provinces,” she added, according the regime’s official IRNA news agency.
September 25, 2020in Women’s News
An Iranian regime court issued an inhuman ruling to separate a 2-year-old toddler from her Christian parents despite her “strong emotional bonds.” The little girl was subsequently separated from her parents and handed over to the Welfare Organization.
The 2-year-old toddler called Lydia was born Muslim but adopted by a Christian couple when she was only ten weeks old. The Revision Court of Bushehr ruled on September 23, 2020, that since the little girl was born Muslim she could not be adopted by a Christian couple.
The court ruling came despite the “strong emotional bonds” between the 2-year-old toddler and her Christian parents, Maryam Fallahi and Sam Khosravi.
Lydia suffers from heart and GI problems. She would face an uncertain future if sent to the orphanage of the Welfare Organization. It is unlikely that any other family would adopt her due to her illness.
Maryam Fallahi worked for years as a nurse in the Heart Hospital of Bushehr. The Welfare Organization’s observer and the Forensics Office confirmed that she had taken best care of Lydia over the past two years.
Amnesty International 12 September 2020
The secret execution of wrestling champion Navid Afkari, without prior notice to him, his family or lawyer, after a grossly unfair trial, is a horrifying travesty of justice that needs immediate international action.
“Navid Afkari was a young man with a promising future ahead of him. Carrying out his death sentence with such utter disregard for the basic principles of justice further demonstrates the cruelty of the death penalty. A series of judges in different courts used forced ‘confessions’ obtained under torture to convict him, and consistently failed to investigate his complaints of torture.”
Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa
Before his secret execution Navid Afkari, 27, was subjected to a shocking catalogue of human rights violations and crimes, including enforced disappearance; torture and other ill-treatment, leading to forced “confessions”; and denial of access to a lawyer and other fair trial guarantees.
“This young man desperately sought help in court to receive a fair trial and prove his innocence. Leaked voice recordings of him in court expose how his pleas for judges to investigate his torture complaints and bring another detainee who had witnessed his torture to testify were unlawfully and cruelly ignored,” said Diana Eltahawy.
By Jubin Katiraie
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has called for urgent action to save the lives of three female political prisoners in Qarchak Prison, following a reliable report that they will be killed soon.
The August 31 report says that Qarchak Prison Warden Mehdi Mohammadi and his deputy Mrs. Mirzaii have paid prisoners convicted of dangerous crimes to attack and murder Zahra Safaei, her daughter Parastoo Mo’ini, and Forough Taghipour, under the guise of a fight, which will throw off the suspicion of deliberate murder.
The report quoted a Qarchak Prison inmate, who said: “The prison’s chief has hired us to beat these prisoners and get into fights with them. But we do not know why we must do so? These three women are very nice and calm, and they have not hurt anyone.”
The report explained that Safaei, Mo’ini, and Taghipour were told by Mohammadi not to talk to the other inmates for fear that they would convert people into supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and that the trio often has to go to the workshop to avoid threats and attacks from those hired by Mohammadi.
Safaei told Qarchak Prison authorities: “We do not have any security here. We do not feel secure at nights in the room and not even when we intend to go to the bathrooms complex.”
The trio was arrested on February 24 and taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison, otherwise known as the Ministry of Intelligence Detention Centre, before being banished to Qarchak Prison in April.
Safaei was previously a political prisoner from 1981 to 1989 and was arrested again in 2006 before being banished to Qazvin Prison in 2009. Her father was executed in 1982 for supporting the MEK.
On June 3, Safaei was threatened with violence and death by several inmates hired by the Intelligence Ministry. She was then attacked on August 27 by two dangerous criminals, who were sent into her room and struck her on the head and face, before other inmates stopped them.
The women who attacked her were Zeinab Ghanbarnejad, 44, and Narges Amir Ali, 42, who are both from Tehran and are convicted of theft and drug use.
It is clear that Safaei, Mo’ini, and Taghipour are in danger. The regime is infamous for using dangerous criminals to murder political prisoners, which is what happened to protester Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali, 21, on June 10, 2019.
A new report by Javaid Rahman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, reveals other dimensions of the crimes of the Iranian security forces.
In a new report, the Special Rapporteur revealed that the Iranian government dealt violently with protesters over the high price of gasoline in November 2019, killing hundreds, detaining thousands, torturing them, and imposing harsh sentences. Execution sentences were also handed down by unjust courts.
“The Special Rapporteur is alarmed by the unprecedented violent crackdown against protesters across the Islamic Republic of Iran in November 2019. Excessive force by State security forces has led to hundreds of deaths and injuries and thousands of arrests.
“Detained protesters have faced torture and ill-treatment, with some receiving harsh sentences, including the death penalty, after unfair trials. While the Government has created a victim compensation scheme and ordered investigations, those processes lack transparency and independence and are failing to hold perpetrators of human rights violations to account. Victims’ families have also reportedly faced harassment by authorities for speaking out.
“The violent response to the January 2020 protests concerning the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 demonstrated that the Government continues to use excessive force to suppress freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
In the new report to the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations, Rehman stressed that he was “shocked” by the “unprecedented use of excessive and lethal force” against the protesters by the police, the IRGC, and the Basij during the November 2019 protests.
“The Special Rapporteur expresses his shock at the unprecedented use of excessive and lethal force by State security forces during the November 2019 protests, including by the police, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Basij militia. According to credible sources, at least 304 people, including 23 children and 10 women, were killed between 15 to 19 November 2019 in 37 cities across the Islamic Republic of Iran, although the death toll is believed to be much higher. Most of the deaths were reported in Tehran (130) and Alborz (33) provinces, as well as the majority ethnic minority provinces of Khuzestan (57) and Kermanshah (30).
“The Special Rapporteur expresses his particular alarm at the reported arbitrary use by security forces of firearms that killed at least 22 boys and 1 girl. On 16 November, 15-year-old Mohammad Dastankhah was shot dead, while returning from school in Sadra, by Basij forces shooting from their building rooftop. A 17-year-old boy, Mohsen Mohammadpour, also died after suffering head injuries during protests in Khorramshahr.
Mohammad Dastankhah and Mohsen Mohammadpour
Mohammad Dastankhah and Mohsen Mohammadpour
“Analysis of nearly half the victims’ corpses reveals they were shot in the head or neck in at least 66 cases and in the chest or heart in at least 46 cases. The pattern of shooting at vital organs, established by eyewitness accounts, video footage, and the documented causes of deaths, demonstrates that security forces were “shooting to kill” or with reckless disregard as to whether their actions caused death.”
While criticizing the regime’s common yet irresponsible behavior, he said: “The Government denied responsibility for protesters’ deaths, stating that firearms had been used by “rioters” and “agents of foreign enemies” and not State security forces, or, contradictorily, that security forces had used lethal force but that it had been justified as armed protesters had posed a threat to life or property. In its comments, the Government reasserted that law enforcement had exercised “maximum restraint”.
“Information received disputes those assertions. First, video footage and eyewitness testimonies confirm that police, Basij, and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps security forces had been the entities to use firearms on unarmed and peaceful protesters who posed no imminent threat to life. Evidence supporting that finding included accounts that those shooting at protesters had worn security force uniforms, shot from government buildings, and used weapons and equipment associated with security forces. While the Government claimed a “large number” had been killed by non-government-issued weapons, no corroborating evidence was provided.”
The report was submitted to the Secretary-General on 21 July 2020 for submission to the General Assembly. The UN General Assembly begins on September 15 with the participation of the Heads of State.
Two days ago, Amnesty International issued a detailed report on the November protests, alleging “rape, enforced disappearances, torture, and other ill-treatment” of protesters over the price of gasoline.
During the November protests, Iran’s internet was cut off in an unprecedented way, and the means of communication and transmission of news were very limited.
Summary of Javaid Rehman’s report on the November 2019 protests
Most of the deaths are related to the two neighboring provinces of Tehran with 130 people and Alborz with 33 people killed.
Also, in the two minority provinces of Khuzestan with 57 dead and Kermanshah with 30 people, most casualties have been recorded.
An examination of nearly half of the bodies showed that 66 people had been shot in the head or neck, and 46 had been shot in the heart and chest.
This shows that the security forces fired with the intention of killing or that the lives and deaths of the people were insignificant to them. The families of the victims have been threatened to keep silent.
By Pooya Stone
The daughter of an Iranian political prisoner has been arrested on vague charges in order to put pressure on her mother; the Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is already on a hunger strike in Evin Prison.
Mehraveh Khandan, 20, was arrested in a raid on her home at 11 am on Monday; taken by five Judiciary agents to the Security Courthouse of Evin without explanation.
Khandan was temporarily released on bail after a few hours, but, this is not the first time she is being subjected to harassment by the regime. She has been banned from leaving the country since she was 12, prevented from visiting her mother under the guise of the misogynous mal-veiling law, and harassed and threatened by Prison authorities when visiting her mother.
On September 16, 2018, Khandan went to visit her mother, but instead of being allowed to see her mother, she was called before the director of the visiting hall and told to “observe her hijab” or she wouldn’t be allowed in, even though she was dressed the same as on previous occasions.
Then, Sotoudeh was told that she was not allowed to receive visitors unless she was fully covered, so in protest, she gave up her family visits; refusing to sign a written pledge that she would wear a veil that only showed her face and hands.
Khandan said: “After waiting in the visitation hall for half an hour, (my mother’s) cellmates told me that when she was asked to sign a pledge to fully observe the hijab, she objected and then protested by refusing to go to visitation, saying that she won’t be making phone calls, either.”
Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike on August 11 to protest prison authorities’ failure to respond to demands by political prisoners or address the dire conditions in prison during the coronavirus outbreak. She is demanding the release of all political prisoners.
It is believed that therefore her daughter was arrested; to put pressure on Sotoudeh to end her hunger strike.
Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, was arrested in September 2018 and jailed for several months; shortly after Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike.
Sotoudeh was first arrested on June 13, 2018, and has been held on the women’s ward of Evin Prison ever since, charged with “collusion against national security”, “dissemination of falsities”, “distortion of public opinion”, and “insulting the state officials”. She was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
By Jubin Katiraie
The Iranian regime executed three inmates this weekend in a shockingly callous disregard for human life.
Early on Monday, August 17, they hanged juvenile offender Arsalan Yasini in Urmia, northwest Iran, after moving him to solitary confinement on Sunday. He has been in prison there for a decade. He was just 17 when he was arrested 12 years ago.
On Sunday, two prisoners were executed in Mashhad Prison, in northeast Iran, and Yasuj Prison, south-central Iran. They were not named, but, according to reports, they had been imprisoned for two and three years, respectively.
The regime’s courts are well known for their lack of due process and other legal rights that we take for granted, with those arrested often tortured for making false confessions to be televised. An example of this coercion is telling someone that they will be released if they just admit to the crime.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups have reported that from 2014 until the end of 2017, the regime executed at least 25 people for crimes that they supposedly committed as children. (Supposedly because, as mentioned above, the regime often forces people to confess under duress.) In 2018, the regime executed seven people for crimes that they allegedly committed before they turned 18.
In related news, the regime transferred political prisoner Abbas Mohammadi, arrested during the December 2017 / January 2018 uprising across Iran, to solitary confinement either late Friday or early Saturday. Mohammadi, who is held in Juy-Abad prison, in Isfahan, central Iran, is believed to be headed for his execution if it has not already taken place in secret.
Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) Saturday urged international human rights organizations to take action and save his life and get his death sentence revoked.
Mohammadi and four other protesters, all under 30, were sentenced to two counts of executions on the intentionally vague charge of “enmity against God” and the fake one of “violating others’ rights”. Of course, these five brave souls who were fighting for a Free Iran have all been under incredible interrogation and torture to obtain false confessions, so their convictions are more than doubtful.
Iran recently executes Mostafa Salehi, who was arrested during the nationwide Iran protests in 2018 in Isfahan. The regime accused him of killing a member of the security forces, despite having any pieces of evidence and repeated denial by Salehi.
By Pooya Stone
Following is the excerpt from the monthly summary of the Iran Human Rights Monitor’s report. As always, more information can be found here.
July 2020 saw the regime violate international norms and laws with its use of the death penalty and torture, as well as suppressing the people as a whole by clamping down on freedom of expression and specifically targeting ethnic and religious minorities.
The regime killed 31 people in July, with at least seven of the prisoners convicted on non-violent crimes like drug-trafficking and political activism, with many of them not able to access a lawyer. The rest of the prisoners were convicted of murder, but it’s important to remember that the regime relies on unfair trials and false confessions extracted under torture to get their convictions.
On July 15, Amnesty International said: “There has been an alarming escalation in the use of the death penalty against protesters, dissidents, and members of minority groups in Iran.”
Meanwhile, a total of eight protesters had their death sentences upheld by the Supreme Court, including three men – Amir Hossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Saied Tamjidi – whose initial sentence caused outrage on social media and forced the temporary delay of their executions.
The regime sought to deny the Iranian people their basic rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, by cracking down on protest.
In Behbahan, a peaceful protest broke out on July 16, but security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters and arrested at least 50, while three Iranians were sentenced hefty prison terms for setting fire to a poster of dead-Iranian regime terrorist Qasem Soleimani
Kurdish activist Ahmadreza Haeri was flogged 74 times and began a six-month prison sentence for “spreading propaganda against the state” and “disrupting public order”.
The regime increased pressure on political dissidents in several ways, including opening up a new case against prisoner Majid Assadi to avoid releasing him. Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Narges Mohammadi is being denied medical care after showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
Freedom of religion
The regime is also systematically violating freedom of religion; particularly when it comes to the Baha’is.
12 Baha’is were sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison because of their religion, while others face discrimination in employment and education.
Kiarash Moieni, 19, was told that he could not work at the Shiraz fire department because he was a member of the Baha’I faith, even though he’d finished his training and worked without pay as a volunteer fire-fighter already.
While 15-year-old Adib Vali, who had received several medals for his achievements, was told by the principal at Salam School, where he had been studying for three years already and was at the top of his class, that he was not allowed to return for the tenth grade.
A source said that this came after he wrote he was Baha’i on a school form.