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Iran: Respect families’ right to commemorate loved ones killed during uprising without reprisals on one-year anniversary


  • Iran: Respect families’ right to commemorate loved ones killed during uprising without reprisals on one-year anniversary

    The families of those unlawfully killed by Iran’s security forces during the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising in 2022 must be allowed to mark the one-year anniversaries of their deaths, Amnesty International said today, as the Iranian authorities ramp up their campaign of harassment and intimidation against victims’ families to enforce silence and impunity.

    In new research published today, Amnesty International details how the Iranian authorities have been subjecting victims’ families to arbitrary arrest and detention, imposing cruel restrictions on peaceful gatherings at grave sites, and destroying victims’ gravestones. Not a single official has been held to account for the unlawful killing of hundreds of men, women and children by security forces during the authorities’ brutal crackdown on the popular uprising that engulfed Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa/Zhina Amini on 16 September 2022. Amnesty International considers the mental pain and anguish inflicted on mourning families by the authorities’ abusive practices to be a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law.

    “The cruelty of the Iranian authorities knows no bounds. In their sinister attempt to cover up their crimes, the authorities are compounding the anguish and suffering of victims’ families by preventing them from demanding justice, truth and reparation or even planting flowers at their loved ones’ graves. As the anniversary of the uprising nears, victims’ families fear that the authorities will deploy their usual repressive tactics to bar them from holding commemorations,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The international community must support victims’ families by pressing the Iranian authorities in private and in public to respect their right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The families must be protected from arbitrary detention, threats and other reprisals. States must also call on the Iranian authorities to release all those who were detained for advocating for truth and justice over the deaths, quash all unjust convictions and sentences against them, and drop all charges against those facing reprisals for speaking out.”

    The international community must support victims’ families by pressing the Iranian authorities in private and in public to respect their right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The families must be protected from arbitrary detention, threats and other reprisals.

    Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa

    Amnesty International has documented in its latest publication the cases of 36 victims’ families from 10 provinces across the country who have been subjected to human rights violations in recent months. They include families of 33 individuals who were unlawfully killed by the security forces during the protests; families of two individuals who were arbitrarily executed in connection with the protests; and family of one torture survivor who committed suicide upon release from detention.

    Human rights violations against families for seeking justice, truth and reparation

    The violations inflicted against victims’ families include arbitrary arrest and detention; unjust prosecutions on vaguely-worded spurious national security charges, which, in some cases, led to prison and flogging sentences; summoning and subjecting them to coercive interrogations by prosecutors or security forces; putting them under unlawful surveillance; and destroying or damaging the graves of their loved ones.

    In July 2023, the mother of 16-year-old Artin Rahmani, who was shot dead by security forces on 16 November 2022 in Izeh, Khuzestan province, said on Twitter: “The authorities of the Islamic Republic killed my innocent son, imprisoned my brother and relatives, and summoned me to the prosecutor’s office for the crime of seeking justice for the killing of my child to silence me. Citizens in Iran have no right to protest and any efforts to seek freedom are suppressed with great violence”.

    The authorities of the Islamic Republic killed my innocent son, imprisoned my brother and relatives, and summoned me to the prosecutor’s office for the crime of seeking justice for the killing of my child to silence me. Citizens in Iran have no right to protest and any efforts to seek freedom are suppressed with great violence.

    Mother of 16-year-old Artin Rahmani, who was shot dead by security forces on 16 November 2022

    The authorities have also tried to bar victims’ families from holding ceremonies at the graves of their loved ones, including on the occasion of their birthdays. Families who have defiantly held gatherings have reported the heavy presence of security forces who violently cracked down on ceremonies, taking pictures of those present and beating or arbitrarily arresting family members.

    Damaging the graves of those unlawfully killed

    Amnesty International documented and published images depicting the destruction of graves belonging to more than 20 victims from 17 cities. Graves have been damaged with tar, paint and arson; headstones have been broken; and phrases on gravestones describing victims as “martyr” or stating that they died for the cause of freedom have been forcibly erased. The authorities have failed to conduct any investigations to identify those suspected of criminal responsibility for these crimes and bring them to justice or to take measures to prevent the repeated destruction of gravesites.

    Some of the graves were damaged by security forces in front of family members; other graves were damaged overnight or at other times when nobody was present after authorities repeatedly threatened to destroy gravestones that depict artwork expressing support for the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising or that contain poetic phrases indicating that victims suffered unnatural deaths caused by political oppression.

    In April 2023, the sister of Milad Saeedianjoo, who was fatally shot by security forces in Izeh, Khuzestan province, on 15 November 2022, said on Instagram: “To the person who, on the birthday of my brother, grabbed my hair, tortured me with a baton, trampled on my brother’s grave in front of my eyes… What is the verdict you have given yourself for all of this? It has been proven to me who is the murderer of my brother… Our family has not filed a complaint in any court in Iran… because it was futile going to the murderer to file a complaint about the murderer…”

    Mahsa/Zhina Amini’s family has publicly spoken out about the repeated damage to her grave. The authorities have announced plans to make substantial changes to Aichi cemetery in Saqqez, Kurdistan province, where she is buried, that will make her grave less accessible to the public. Her grave has become a place where families of those unlawfully killed during the protests gather to find collective solace and solidarity and indicate their determination to seek justice.

  • Iran: International community must stand with women and girls suffering intensifying oppression

    The Iranian authorities are doubling down on their oppressive methods of policing and severely oppressing Iranian women and girls for defying degrading compulsory veiling laws, Amnesty International said today.

    In a detailed analysis published today, the organization exposes the authorities’ intensified nationwide crackdown on women and girls who choose not to wear headscarves in public. In the latest escalation on 16 July, the spokesperson of Iran’s police, Saeed Montazer-Almahdi, announced the return of police patrols to enforce compulsory veiling and threatened legal action against women and girls who defy forced veiling. This coincided with videos circulating on social media, depicting women being violently assaulted by officials in Tehran and Rasht, and security forces firing teargas towards people helping women escape arrests in Rasht.

    Official announcements reveal that since 15 April 2023, more than a million women have received text messages warning that their vehicles could be confiscated after they were captured on camera without their headscarves. Additionally, countless women have been suspended or expelled from universities, barred from sitting final exams, and denied access to banking services and public transport. Hundreds of businesses have been forcibly closed for not enforcing compulsory veiling. The intensified crackdown exposes the dubious nature of the Iranian authorities’ previous claims of disbanding the “morality” police, amid contradictory official statements over its return to Iranian streets.

    “Morality policing in Iran is back. The authorities are not fooling anyone by removing the insignia of the ‘morality’ police from uniforms and patrol vans, while emboldening the enforcers of the Islamic Republic’s oppression and subjugation of women and girls to engage in the same violence that killed Mahsa Zhina Amini with impunity. Today’s crackdown is intensified by mass surveillance technologies capable of identifying unveiled women in their cars and pedestrian spaces,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    Morality policing in Iran is back. The authorities are not fooling anyone by removing the insignia of the ‘morality’ police…, while emboldening the enforcers of the Islamic Republic’s oppression.

     Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

    “The intensified crackdown on unveiling reflects the Iranian authorities’ deplorable disregard for the human dignity and rights of women and girls to autonomy, privacy and freedom of expression, religion, and belief. It also underscores a desperate attempt by the authorities to reassert their dominance and power over those who dared to stand up against decades of oppression and inequality during the “Woman. Life. Freedom.” uprising.

    A woman in Esfahan province who received an SMS message ordering her to immobilize her car for 15 days for removing her headscarf when driving told Amnesty International: “Emotionally and psychologically, all these threats they [the authorities] have made have had a very negative impact on us… The Islamic Republic wants to show that they can go to any extent when it comes to enforcing compulsory veiling… They want to present themselves to the international community as moving away from violence but, in reality, they are carrying out these actions discreetly. They are truly creating fear in our existence.”

    They want to present themselves to the international community as moving away from violence but, in reality, they are carrying out these actions discreetly. They are truly creating fear in our existence.

    A woman in Esfahan who received a ban for defying veiling

    On 14 June 2023, the spokesperson of Iran’s police announced that since 15 April 2023, the police have sent almost one million SMS warning messages to women captured unveiled in their cars, issued 133,174 SMS messages requiring the immobilization of vehicles for a specific duration, confiscated 2,000 cars, and referred more than 4,000 “repeat offenders” to the judiciary across the country. He added that 108,211 reports on the enforcement of compulsory veiling laws had been gathered about the commission of “offences” within businesses and that 300 “offenders” had been identified and referred to the judiciary.

    In an attempt to further codify and intensify this crackdown, judicial and executive authorities presented the “Bill to Support the Culture of Chastity and Hijab” to parliament on 21 May 2023. Under this proposed legislation, women and girls who appear without headscarves in public spaces and on social media or who show “nakedness of a body part or wear thin or tight clothes” will face a catalogue of penalties that will severely impact their human rights, including social and economic rights. These include monetary fines, confiscation of cars and communication devices, driving bans, deductions to salary and employment benefits, dismissal from work, and prohibition on accessing banking services.

    The draft bill includes proposals to sentence women and girls convicted of defying veiling laws “on a systemic basis or in collusion with foreign intelligence and security services” to two to five years’ imprisonment as well as travel bans and forced residency in a specified location.

    Managers of public institutions and private businesses who allow unveiled employees and customers within their premises would face penalties ranging from closures to lengthy prison sentences and travel bans.

    The bill proposes a range of sanctions against athletes, artists and other public figures defying veiling laws including bans on engagement in professional activities, imprisonment, flogging and fines.

    On 23 July 2023, a parliamentary committee indicated that it sent the revised bill consisting of 70 articles to the open floor of Iran’s parliament for review. The revised text has not been made public.

    Simultaneously, the authorities have relied on the Islamic Penal Code to prosecute and impose degrading punishments on women who appear in public without headscarves. Amnesty International has reviewed verdicts issued against six women in June or July 2023 requiring them to attend counselling sessions for “anti-social personality disorder”, wash corpses in a morgue or clean government buildings.

    This assault on women’s and girls’ rights is taking place amid a spate of hateful statements by officials and state media, referring to unveiling as a “virus”“social illness” or “ disorder” and equating the choice to appear without a headscarf to “sexual depravity”.

    The Iranian authorities must abolish compulsory veiling, quash all convictions and sentences for defying compulsory veiling, drop all charges against all those facing prosecution, and unconditionally release anyone in detention for defying compulsory veiling. The authorities must abandon plans to punish women and girls for exercising their rights to equality, privacy, and freedom of expression, religion, and belief.

    The international community must not stand idly by as the Iranian authorities intensify their oppression of women and girls.

     Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

    “The international community must not stand idly by as the Iranian authorities intensify their oppression of women and girls. The response of states should not be limited to forceful public statements and diplomatic interventions, but also involve the pursuit of legal pathways to hold Iranian officials accountable for ordering, planning, and committing widespread and systematic human rights violations against women and girls through the implementation of compulsory veiling. All governments must do everything in their power to support women and girls fleeing gender-based persecution and serious human rights violations in Iran, ensure they can access swift and safe refugee procedures and under no circumstances should they be forcibly returned to Iran,” said Callamard.

  • Britain, France, Germany: Tehran’s nuclear program has reached a dangerous level

    Following a United Nations Security Council meeting on Thursday regarding Resolution 2231 on Iran’s nuclear program, Britain, France and Germany issued a joint statement in which they raised an alarm that the Iranian regime has been violating its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) for over four years. As a result, Tehran’s nuclear program has now become “dangerous.”

    These European countries emphasized that this issue is a critical concern for international peace and security.

    During a special session on July 6, the United Nations Security Council discussed not only Tehran’s uranium enrichment program but also its military cooperation with Russia, missile program, and regional policies.

    UN officials at the meeting stated that the regime’s stockpile of enriched uranium has currently exceeded the JCPOA limits by more than 20 times. They urged the regime to refrain from any actions that go against its commitments outlined in the JCPOA.

    The JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, is attached to UNSC Resolution 2231.

    The recent statement by Britain, France, and Germany states that Iran’s possession of 20% and 60 percent enriched uranium stockpiles is “unprecedented” for a country without a nuclear weapons program. It has been previously stated that enrichment at such levels has no legitimate non-proliferation justification.

    In March, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported the discovery of highly enriched uranium particles in Iran’s Natanz facility. The recent statement highlights that such advanced enrichment levels raise serious concerns and are not in line with the JCPOA or even the levels reported to the Agency.

    The statement also mentions that Iran’s research and development activities have resulted in irreversible scientific achievements, which the JCPOA aimed to limit. It further states that Iran has withheld reporting changes in the configuration of centrifuges in Natanz to the Agency since 2009.

    The three European countries assert that Iran lacks a valid non-proliferation justification for escalating tensions. They express concern that Tehran’s activities are increasingly bringing it closer to military capabilities, which poses a significant threat to international peace and security.

    The statement also addresses the regime’s missile program and the transfer of missiles and drones to countries and non-state actors in the region and beyond. It states that Iran continues to produce ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, which violates Resolution 2231. The statement adds that regime’s proliferation of arms to non-state actors in the Middle East endangers the region and the international community. It refers to “convincing” evidence that Iran is supplying prohibited weapons to non-state actors, which is unauthorized and violates the UN Security Council resolution.

    The European countries also highlight the transfer of “hundreds of drones” from Iran to Russia since August 2022. They describe this as another violation and warn Iran’s regime about further delivery of drones to Russia, knowing that Moscow intends to use them for potential attacks on Ukraine.

    The European countries condemn the regime’s continuous disregard for its commitments under Resolution 2231. They call upon the United Nations Secretary-General to instruct the UN Secretariat to investigate and report on evidence regarding the transfer of arms, materials, equipment, goods, technology, or related services by Tehran, in accordance with Resolution 2231.

    The European countries reiterate their commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis with the regime. They emphasize that Iran’s regime must never develop nuclear weapons and should cease its nuclear activities that raise tensions. They also highlight that other restrictions imposed by relevant Security Council resolutions after the expiration of Resolution 2231 in October will remain in force.

  • Iran: Execution of Three Uprising Prisoners in Isfahan Despite Domestic and Global Protests

    The Iranian regime’s judiciary, under the orders of Khamenei, carried out the execution of three uprising prisoners in Isfahan today, on Friday, May 19. Despite widespread domestic and international protests, Saleh Mirhashmi (36 years old), Majid Kazemi (30 years old), and Saeed Yaqoubi (37 years old) were subjected to months of physical and mental torture before being accused of fabricated charges of “Moharebeh (enmity against God)” and executed. The ruling religious fascism justified these executions by citing the deaths of several repressive forces during the Isfahan uprising in November.

    These criminal executions are part of an ongoing wave of executions since late April, aimed at suppressing any potential uprising. On Thursday, May 18 alone, 16 prisoners were executed, bringing the total number of executions to 112 over the past four weeks.

    Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), stated that not a day goes by without the bloodthirsty Khamenei shedding the blood of our young people to cling to his abhorrent reign and stave off its inevitable collapse. The mullahs’ regime is unable to rule a single day without resorting to repression, torture, and executions. The sole path for the people of Iran to free themselves is through uprising and resistance.

    We called upon the United Nations, the European Union, and member states to denounce this wave of executions and to take immediate action to compel the regime to cease the cycle of arrests, torture, and executions. She stressed that failure to act against this regime, which is an affront to humanity, contradicts the fundamental principles and universality of human rights.

  • Iran: Child detainees subjected to flogging, electric shocks and sexual violence in brutal protest crackdown

    March 16, 2023 – Iran’s intelligence and security forces have been committing horrific acts of torture, including beatings, flogging, electric shocks, rape and other sexual violence against child protesters as young as 12 to quell their involvement in nationwide protests, said Amnesty International today.

    Marking six months of the unprecedented popular uprising in Iran, sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, Amnesty International reveals the violence meted out to children arrested during and in the aftermath of protests. The research exposes the torture methods that the Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary Basij, the Public Security Police and other security and intelligence forces used against boys and girls in custody to punish and humiliate them and to extract forced “confessions.”

    “Iranian state agents have torn children away from their families and subjected them to unfathomable cruelties. It is abhorrent that officials have wielded such power in a criminal manner over vulnerable and frightened children, inflicting severe pain and anguish upon them and their families and leaving them with severe physical and mental scars. This violence against children exposes a deliberate strategy to crush the vibrant spirit of the country’s youth and stop them from demanding freedom and human rights,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The authorities must immediately release all children detained solely for peacefully protesting. With no prospect of effective impartial investigations into the torture of children domestically, we call on all states to exercise universal jurisdiction over Iranian officials, including those with command or superior responsibility, reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility for crimes under international law, including the torture of child protesters.”

    I was forced to say what they wanted because they raped me with a hosepipe. They were taking my hand and forcibly making me fingerprint the papers.

    A boy who was detained by state agents told his mother
    Since the start of Amnesty International’s investigations into the Iranian authorities’ brutal crackdown on the uprising, the organization has documented the cases of seven children in detail. The organization obtained testimonies from the victims and their families, as well as further testimonies on the widespread commission of torture against scores of children from 19 eyewitnesses, including two lawyers and 17 adult detainees who were held alongside children. The victims and eyewitnesses interviewed were from provinces across Iran including East Azerbaijan, Golestan, Kermanshah, Khorasan-e Razavi, Khuzestan, Lorestan, Mazandaran, Sistan and Baluchestan, Tehran, and Zanjan.

    Amnesty International has removed any reference to identifying details, such as the ages of the children and the provinces in which they were detained, in order to protect them and their families against reprisals.

    Mass detention of children
    Iranian authorities have admitted that the total number of people detained in connection with the protests was above 22,000. While they have not provided a breakdown of how many of those detained were children, state media reported that children comprised a significant portion of protesters. Based on testimonies of dozens of detainees from across the country who witnessed security forces detaining scores of children, coupled with the fact that children and youth have been at the forefront of protests, Amnesty International estimates that thousands of children could have been among those swept up in the wave of arrests.

    It is abhorrent that officials have wielded such power in a criminal manner over vulnerable and frightened children…

    Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International
    Amnesty International’s findings indicate that arrested children, like adults, were first taken, often while blindfolded, to detention centres run by the Revolutionary Guards, the Ministry of Intelligence, the Public Security Police, the investigation unit of Iran’s police (Agahi) or the Basij paramilitary force. After days or weeks of incommunicado detention or enforced disappearance, they were moved to recognized prisons. Plainclothes agents abducted others from the streets during or in the aftermath of protests, took them to unofficial places such as warehouses, where they tortured them before abandoning them in remote locations. Such abductions were conducted without any due process and were intended to punish, intimidate and deter children from participating in protests.

    Many children have been held alongside adults, contrary to international standards, and subjected to the same patterns of torture and other ill-treatment. A former adult detainee told Amnesty International that, in one province, Basijagents forced several boys to stand with their legs apart in a line alongside adult detainees and administered electric shocks to their genital area with stun guns.

    Most of the children arrested over the past six months appear to have been released, sometimes on bail pending investigations or referral to trial. Many were only released after being forced to sign “repentance” letters and promising to refrain from “political activities” and to attend pro-government rallies.

    Before releasing them, state agents often threatened children with prosecution on charges carrying the death penalty or with the arrest of their relatives if they complained.

    In at least two cases documented by Amnesty International, despite the threat of reprisals, victims’ families filed official complaints before judicial authorities, but none were investigated.

    Rape and other sexual violence
    Amnesty International’s documentation also reveals that state agents used rape and other sexual violence, including electric shocks to genitals, touching genitals, and rape threats as a weapon against child detainees to break their spirits, humiliate and punish them, and/or extract “confessions.” This pattern is also widely reported by adult women and men detainees.

    State agents also hurled sexual slurs at detained girls and accused them of wanting to bare their naked bodies, simply for protesting for women’s and girls’ rights and defying compulsory veiling.

    One mother told Amnesty International that state agents raped her son with a hosepipe while he was forcibly disappeared. She said:

    “My son told me: ‘They hung [me] to the point that I felt like my arms were about to rip off. I was forced to say what they wanted because they raped me with a hosepipe. They were taking my hand and forcibly making me fingerprint the papers’.”

    Beatings, floggings, electric shocks and other abuses
    Security forces regularly beat children at the time of arrest, in vehicles during transfer, and in detention centres. Other torture methods recounted include floggings, administering electric shocks using stun guns, the forced administration of unidentified pills, and holding children’s heads under water.

    In one case, several schoolboys were abducted for writing the protest slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” on a wall. A relative of one of the victims told Amnesty International that plainclothes state agents abducted the boys, took them to an unofficial location, tortured and threatened to rape them, and then dumped them semi-conscious in a remote area hours later. The victim told the relative:

    “They gave us electric shocks, hit me in my face with the back of a gun, gave electric shocks to my back and beat me on my feet, back and hands with batons. They threatened that if we told anyone, they would [detain us again], do even worse and deliver our corpses to our families.”

    Victims and families told Amnesty International how state agents also choked children, suspended them from their arms or from scarves wrapped around their necks, and forced them to perform humiliating acts.

    One boy recounted:

    “They told us [over a dozen people] to make chicken noises for half an hour – for so long that we ‘lay eggs’. They forced us to do push-ups for one hour. I was the only child there. In another detention centre, they put 30 of us in a cage made for five people.”

    State agents also used psychological torture including death threats to punish and intimidate children and/or compel them to make forced “confessions”. State media has broadcast the “forced confessions” of at least two boys detained during protests.

    The mother of a girl who was detained by the Revolutionary Guards told Amnesty International:

    “They accused her of burning headscarves, insulting the Supreme Leader and wanting to overthrow [the Islamic Republic], and told her she will be sentenced to death. They threatened her not to tell anyone … They forced her to sign and fingerprint documents. She has nightmares and doesn’t go anywhere. She can’t even read her schoolbooks.”

    Children were also held in cruel and inhuman detention conditions, including extreme overcrowding, poor access to toilet and washing facilities, deprivation of sufficient food and potable water, exposure to extreme cold and prolonged solitary confinement. Girls were held by all-male security forces with no regard for their gender-specific needs. Children were also denied adequate medical care, including for injuries sustained under torture.

    Iran: Child detainees subjected to flogging, electric shocks and sexual violence in brutal protest crackdown

  • Iran: Deliberate Poisoning of Students Continues in Various Cities

    March 2, 2023-The project of poisoning students in girls’ schools is gaining new dimensions every day, and the leaders of the regime are trying to hide the regime’s role in this crime by lying and creating conflicting scenarios.

    Zahra Sheikhi, the spokesperson of the Health Committee of mullahs’ parliament, Majlis, was quoted by the state-run website Etemad, on March 1, saying: “800 students were poisoned in Qom and 400 in Borujerd.”

    But Revolutionary Guard Ahmad Vahidi, the Minister of the Interior, was reported by Quds Force news agency, Tasnim, on March 1, saying brazenly: “More than 90% of the poisonings were not caused by external factors, and most of them were stress and worries caused by raising this issue… so far… no cases have been found that can be said certain element had caused it.”

    In the meantime, Alireza Monadi, Chair of the Education Committee of Majlis, said: “Based on the results of the tests, N2 gas was present in the poison released in schools,” IRGC-affiliated News Agency, Fars, reported on March 1.

    The Bahar News website wrote on February 27: “The Deputy Minister of Health on Research admitted that the poisoning of students was deliberate and said that some people wanted all girls’ schools to be closed down. But so far not even a single one of the perpetrators of these terrorist acts have been arrested.”

    On Wednesday, March 1, students of several high schools in Tehransar, Parand, and Narmak of Tehran were poisoned. Students and their families gathered in protest outside these schools and chanted “Death to Khamenei”, “Shame, Shame”, “Death to the dictator”, “Death to the child-killer regime”, “Bloodthirsty Khamenei! We will bury you under the ground”. Suppressive forces, especially plainclothes agents, threatened the families and severely beat one of the mothers, and arrested her.

    On Wednesday morning, the students of 8 girls’ schools in Ardabil were intoxicated by poisonous gas, reported the state-run news agency ISNA, March 1. “Nearly 100 students were poisoned today in Ardabil,” said Ghani Nazari, a Majlis deputy to the regime’s national TV on March 1. On Tuesday, February 28, a number of female students were poisoned in the students’ dormitory at Azad University of Borujerd.

    The clerical regime, angered by the Iranian Resistance’s revelation of the direct responsibility of the regime and the IRGC and other security forces, foolishly reported the discovery of “traces of the MEK” involvement in the poisoning of schoolgirls in its controlled media.

    Hamshahri newspaper wrote: “Maryam Rajavi, in her tweet, while referring to the continuation of these poisonings, using the terms ‘a systematic crime’, ‘undoubtedly caused by a malicious intention’, tried to turn the finger of blame from her side and point it at the Islamic Republic. Many experts in the field of politics consider this tweet as proof that the MEK was involved in these serial poisonings… Proving the ‘misogynistic policies of the Islamic Republic’ was one of the main approaches that the subversives, especially the MEK, tried to induce in such a way that serial poisoning of students was a ‘systematic measure by the Islamic Republic’ with the aim of ‘revenge against the girls’”.

    Mrs. Rajavi announced in a tweet on February 14: “The chain poisoning of female students… is not accidental, but a systematic crime and the result of a malicious intent in a regime whose misogynist hysteria has been doubled due to the role of girls in the uprising.”

    Yesterday, Mrs. Rajavi said in connection with the continuation and expansion of the poisoning of schoolgirls: Khamenei’s henchmen have replaced and supplemented the Guidance Patrol with this malicious act and used it as a tool to take revenge on the girls in the uprising. She called on the youths to stage protests and called on bodies defending human rights, children’s and women’s rights to condemn this massive crime, and the UN rapporteurs on children and women, and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, to hold the mullahs’ regime to account, and demanded the dispatch of a delegation by the World Health Organization to carry out an investigation into this disaster.

  • A Political Prisoner Executed in Iran

    On Wednesday, February 22, the Iranian regime secretly hanged the political prisoner Sarkut Ahmadi from Ravansar, who had been in the Dizelabad prison of Kermanshah for the past two years ago. Mr. Ahmadi, 29, was sentenced to death in January 2021 for the death of a State Security Force Major Hassan Melki. On Monday, February 20, the political prisoner Hassan Abyat was hanged in Sepidar prison of Ahvaz on charges of “waging war on God and corruption on earth”.

    On Tuesday, February 21, three prisoners named Vahid Beyzaei, Saadullah Farrokhi, and Amir Ali Bayrami were executed in Urmia Central Prison. In mid-February, at least 15 prisoners were executed in various cities. A woman named Fariba Hosseini, mother of two, was executed in Fardis prison of Karaj on February 14 after 6 years of imprisonment.

    On February 21, the judiciary of the mullahs sentenced Jamshid Sharmahd to death. Mr. Sharmahd, who is a German citizen, was kidnapped by the regime in Dubai in August 2020 and taken to Iran.

    While condemning these executions, especially the execution of the political prisoner Sarkut Ahmadi, the Iranian Resistance reiterates the need for immediate action by the United Nations and the European Union, and member states to release the political prisoners and save the lives of the prisoners on the death row. The dossier of the crimes of the Iranian regime must be referred to the United Nations Security Council and its leaders, especially its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Raisi, and Judiciary Chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, must be brought to justice for four decades of genocide and crimes against humanity.

  • Iran: Young man at grave risk of execution in connection with protests amid ‘killing spree’

    Amnesty International January 11: The Iranian authorities must immediately halt all executions of people sentenced to death in relation to nationwide protests, Amnesty International said today, condemning the arbitrary executions of Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini on 7 January and warning that Mohammad Ghobadlou and others risk the same fate.

    On 2 January, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence of Mohammad Ghobadlou, 22, in connection with the ongoing nationwide protests, making his sentence final and raising fears that his execution is imminent. In the past week, the authorities also announced five further protest-related death sentences imposed by Revolutionary Courts.

    “It is abhorrent that the Iranian authorities persist in their state-sanctioned killing spree as they desperately seek to end the protests and cling to power by instilling fear among the public,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The arbitrary executions of Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, just days after their death sentences were upheld, reveal how the Iranian authorities continue to wield the death penalty as a weapon of repression, and serve as a chilling reminder that scores of others remain at risk of execution.”

    While the Iranian authorities pursue their assault on the right to life to crush protests, the people of Iran continue to stand up for human rights. Families of those at risk of executions and their supporters waged protests outside Raja’i Shahr prison on 8 and 9 January, where Mohammad Ghobadlou and some others on death row are held, even as authorities attempted to disperse them by firing shots into the air. The families’ anguish is exacerbated by the authorities’ persistent secrecy on their use of the death penalty and refusal to provide families and lawyers advance notice of executions.

    At grave risk of execution

    Mohammad Ghobadlou is at grave risk of execution after the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence on 2 January 2023. He was sentenced to death for “spreading corruption on earth” (efsad-e fel arz) after a fast-tracked, grossly unfair sham trial before a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The prosecution relied on torture-tainted “confessions” to convict him of running over officials with a car, killing one and injuring others.

    Mohammad Ghobaldou was also tried before a criminal court in Tehran on charges stemming from the same alleged acts, in contravention of the protection against double jeopardy. If convicted, he could receive a second death sentence.

    It is abhorrent that the Iranian authorities persist in their state-sanctioned killing spree as they desperately seek to end the protests and cling to power by instilling fear among the public.

    Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International

    No adequate examinations of Mohammad Ghobadlou’s mental health were conducted by the authorities and his mother has stated that he is being denied medication for his mental health condition in prison. On 29 December 2022, a group of psychiatrists published an open letter to the head of judiciary urging a closer examination of his mental health and its possible impact on his ability to exercise judgement.

    Mohammad Ghobadlou’s lawyer has filed a request for a judicial review of his case before the Supreme Court, which remains pending.

    Executed after unfair sham trials

    On 5 December 2022, a Revolutionary Court in Alborz province sentenced Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini to death in a grossly unfair sham trial. They were also convicted of “spreading corruption on earth” (efsad-e fel arz) over the death of a Basij paramilitary agent during a protest on 3 November 2022.

    The court convicted and sentenced them to death less than a week after the trial began on 30 November 2022. Before trial, state media aired their forced “confessions” and described them as “murderers”, violating their right to presumption of innocence. Both were also denied access to lawyers of their own choosing.

    Seyed Mohammad Hosseini subsequently revealed to his lawyer that the authorities forced him to “confess” under torture and other ill-treatment, such as kicking him until he lost consciousness, beating him on the soles of his feet with iron rods, and using electric shocks all over his body.

    Their executions, which took place just two months after their arrests, were each carried out in secret and without prior notice to their lawyers and families.

    Scores of protesters at risk

    Amnesty International fears that scores of others face the death penalty in connection with protests, given that thousands of people have been arbitrarily arrested and indicted since protests erupted. They include Mohammad Boroughani who was sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran for “enmity against God” (moharebeh) in a grossly unfair sham trial. He was convicted for allegedly wielding a machete, setting fire to the governor’s building and injuring a state agent. On 24 December, the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence. On 11 January, the Director of Public Relations of Iran’s Supreme Court announced on Twitter that Mohammad Boroughani’s death sentence has been suspended pending the outcome of a judicial review by the Supreme Court. Others at risk also include Arshia Takdestan, Javad Roohi, Mehdi Mohammadi Fard, Manouchehr Mehman Navaz, Saleh Mirhashemi, Saeed Yaghoubi and Majid Kazemi, who have all been convicted and sentenced to death since November.

    Numerous others are either currently on trial or facing charges for crimes that carry the death penalty, including Abolfazl Mehri Hossein Hajilou, Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharagholou, Saeed Shirazi, Akbar Ghafari, Toomaj Salehi, Ebrahim Rigi (Riki), Farzad (Farzin) Tahazadeh and Farhad Tahazadeh, Karwan Shahiparvaneh, Reza Eslamdoost, Hajar Hamidi and Shahram Marouf-Mola.

    Amnesty International is investigating reports of other individuals sentenced to death and/or at risk of the death penalty in relation to the protests. 

    “It is crucial that the international community not only stands with the people in Iran but takes urgent action to hold the Iranian authorities to account. States must exercise universal jurisdiction to criminally investigate all officials reasonably suspected of involvement in crimes under international law and other grave violations of human rights, and issue arrest warrants where there is sufficient evidence,” said Diana Eltahawy.


    In 2022, the Iranian authorities executed two other men in relation to the nationwide protests. On 8 December 2022, Mohsen Shekari was executed less than three months after his arrest and after being convicted of “enmity against God” in a grossly unfair trial. On 12 December 2022, Majidreza Rahanvard was publicly executed just two weeks after being convicted of “enmity against God” in a grossly unfair trial.

  • Iran: Public execution of Majidreza Rahnavard exposes authorities’ revenge killings

    Amnesty International: December 12, 2022 Responding to the Iranian authorities’ public execution today of Majidreza Rahnavard, a young man sentenced to death, after a sham unfair trial, in connection with ongoing nationwide protests, Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “The horrific public execution of Majidreza Rahnavard today exposes Iran’s judiciary for what it is: a tool of repression sending individuals to the gallows to spread fear and exacting revenge on protesters daring to stand up to the status quo. The arbitrary execution of Majidreza Rahnavard less than two weeks after his only court hearing lays bare the extent of the Iranian authorities’ assault on the right to life and their disregard for even maintaining a façade of meaningful judicial proceedings.

    “We urge the international community to take all necessary measures to pressure the Iranian authorities to stop executions and quash death sentences.

    Amnesty International further urges all states to exercise universal jurisdiction over all officials reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility for crimes under international law and other grave violations of human rights.”


    Majidreza Rahnavard’s unfair trial consisted of just one session before a ‘Revolutionary Court’ in Mashhad, Khorasan-e Razavi province, on 29 November. He was charged with “enmity against God” (moharebeh).

    The authorities accused him of fatally stabbing two Basij agents in Mashhad on 17 November. Before his court session, state media broadcast videos of Majidreza Rahnavard giving forced “confessions”. His heavily bandaged left arm could be seen in a cast, raising serious concerns that he was subjected to torture.

    Amnesty International has identified 20 people at risk of execution in connection with the protests. They include:

    11 individuals sentenced to death: Sahand Nourmohammad-Zadeh; Mahan Sadrat (Sedarat) Madani; Manouchehr Mehman Navaz; Mohammad Boroughani; Mohammad Ghobadlou; Saman Seydi (Yasin); Hamid Ghare Hasanlou; Mohammad Mehdi Karami; Sayed Mohammad Hosseini; Hossein Mohammadi; andan unnamed individual in Alborz province.
    Three individuals who have undergone trials on capital charges and who are either at risk of being sentenced to death or may have already been sentenced to death, with no publicly available information on their status:  Saeed Shirazi; Abolfazl Mehri Hossein Hajilou; and Mohsen Rezazadeh Gharegholou.
    Six individuals who may be awaiting or undergoing trial on charges carrying the death penalty: Akbar Ghafari; Toomaj Salehi; Ebarhim Rigi; Amir Nasr Azadani; Saleh Mirhashemi; and Saeed Yaghoubi.

    The horrific public execution of Majidreza Rahnavard today exposes Iran’s judiciary for what it is: a tool of repression sending individuals to the gallows to spread fear…

    Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International

    Thousands have been arrested and indicted, raising fears that many more people could face the death penalty in connection to protests.

    Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

  • Designating Iranian Officials Connected to Serious Human Rights Abuses in Iran’s Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan Provinces

    The United States is gravely concerned by reports that Iranian authorities are escalating violence against peaceful protesters. Today, we are taking additional action as Iranian security forces, including Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces, reportedly are stepping up their violent crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests in Iran’s Kurdistan Province and surrounding areas.

    Specifically, the Department of the Treasury is designating Mohammad Taghi Osanloo, the commander of the IRGC ground forces unit in West Azerbaijan Province in Iran. The Department of the Treasury is also designating Alireza Moradi, the commander of Iranian Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) in the city of Sanandaj who reportedly ordered the mass arrest of protesters. During nationwide protests in November 2019, Moradi authorized the use of lethal weapons against unarmed protesters in Sanandaj. Lastly, the Department of the Treasury is designating Hasan Asgari, the administrator of Sanandaj and a former IRGC commander. Today’s designations were made pursuant to Executive Order 13553.

    The United States continues to support the Iranian people as they protest nationwide. The human rights abuses inflicted by Iran’s government on its people must not go without consequence.

    For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.