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.
Violence, conflict and unrest robs nearly 580 children of their lives in the Middle East and North Africa since start of year
AMMAN, 18 November 2022 –UNICEF – November 20th marks World Children’s Day, the annual commemoration of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which provides a universal set of standards to be adhered to by all countries – including the principle of non-discrimination; the best interests of the child as a primary consideration in all actions concerning children; the child’s right to express his or her views freely; and, critically, the child’s inherent right to life.
As this date approaches, children across the Middle East and North Africa Region are facing yet another rise in violence. Since the beginning of this year, nearly 580 children have been killed in conflict or violence across several countries in the region – an average of more than 10 children every week. Many more have been injured. This is an unacceptable reality.
Children in the region continue to suffer the devastating impact of protracted conflicts, communal violence, explosive ordnance and remnants of war, and political and social unrest that permeate several countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Just this week, two young girls were found brutally murdered in Al-Hol camp in northern Syria – just the latest act of horrific violence in the camp. In Yemen, whilst an UN-supported truce led to a significant reduction in the intensity of the conflict and the number of victims, the truce expired in October and children continue to come under attack. In Sudan, conflict in Blue Nile and West Kordofan States has once again left children vulnerable and exposed to violence.
In Iran, UNICEF remains deeply concerned by reports of children being killed, injured, and detained. Despite a lack of official data, since late September an estimated 50 children have reportedly lost their lives in the public unrest in Iran. The latest of such horrible losses was 10-year-old Kiyan who was shot dead while in the car with his family. This is terrifying and must stop.
Earlier this week, a 14-year-old Palestinian girl was killed near Ramallah, bringing the number of children killed in the State of Palestine to 49 since the start of the year. In Libya, violence in Tripoli earlier in the year killed at least 3 children. Meanwhile in Iraq, the explosive ordnance from previous conflicts continue to put the lives of children at risk, killing and injuring 65 children this year.
UNICEF is alarmed that children continue to pay a heavy price for violence and conflict. States party to the Convention of the Rights of the Child have the obligation to protect children in situations of conflict and violence and to guarantee their right to life and to freedom of expression.
The right of children to be protected from violence should be upheld at all times and by all parties to conflicts. Violence is never a solution, and violence against children is never defensible.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. Over the past 33 years, 196 countries have become State Parties to the Convention.
World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s global day of action for children, by children. Celebrated every year on the 20th November to coincide with the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the day aims to raise awareness and funds for the millions of children that are denied their rights, and to elevate young people’s voices as critical to any discussions about their future.
Iran’s protesters escalate measures with attacks targeting regime interests
Iran’s nationwide uprising is marking its 63rd day on Thursday as people from all walks of life are continuing their protests through strikes, rallies and gatherings, and attacks against the mullahs’ regime in its entirety.
Protests in Iran have to this day expanded to at least 227 cities. Over 560 people have been killed and more than 30,000 are arrested by the regime’s forces, according to sources of Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The names of 427 killed protesters have been published by the PMOI/MEK. Reports indicate the regime’s security forces killed at least ten protesters on Tuesday, November 15.
As the regime’s security force apparatus is escalating its deadly crackdown against the Iranian people, protesters are taking their measures to the next level by continuously targeting offices of local representatives of regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, sites of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the paramilitary Basij, attacking security units and forcing them to flee while torching their vehicles and motorcycles. Security buildings in many cities across the country, especially in Kurdish regions, have fallen into the locals’ hands.
Initial reports on Thursday indicate merchants continuing their strikes for a third consecutive day in Tehran and at least 15 other cities. The famous bazaars of Tehran, Isfahan, and Tabriz are all on strike. Other cities where strikes have been reported include Ilam, Rask, Surak, Qazvin, Bandar Abbas, Gorgan, Kamyaran, Marivan, Javanrud, Ravansar, and Khorramabad.
Iran’s security forces have killed at least 82 Baluchi
Amnesty international: protesters and bystanders in Zahedan, Sistan & Baluchistan province. Those killed include 3 children. “Bloody Friday”, 30 September, marked the deadliest day on record since protests began 3 weeks ago https://amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/10/iran-at-least-82-baluchi-protesters-and-bystanders-killed-in-bloody-crackdown/…
Protests Intensify in Iran Over Woman Who Died in Custody
New York Times: Unrest has spread to dozens of cities, with at least seven people killed, according to witnesses, rights groups and video posted on social media.
Antigovernment demonstrations in Iran are spreading after Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police. Videos shared on social media show Iranians protesting in the face of crackdowns
By Cora Engelbrecht and Farnaz Fassihi
Published Sept. 21, 2022Updated Sept. 22, 2022
Antigovernment protests in Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody are intensifying, and dozens of cities are embroiled in unrest that has been met with a crackdown by the authorities, according to witnesses, videos posted on social media and human rights groups.
The protests appear to be one of the largest displays of defiance of the Islamic Republic’s rule in years and come as President Ebrahim Raisi is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. They erupted last weekend after the woman, Mahsa Amini, died following her arrest by Tehran’s morality police on an accusation of violating the law on head scarves.
At least seven protesters had been killed as of Wednesday, according to human rights groups. Protesters have been calling for an end to the Islamic Republic, chanting things like “Mullahs get lost,” “We don’t want an Islamic republic,” and “Death to the supreme leader.” Women have also burned hijabs in protest against the law, which requires all women above the age of puberty to wear a head covering and loose clothing.
A picture of Mahsa Amini provided to Iran Wire by her family. The authorities have said she died of heart failure; her family say she had been in good health.Credit…Iran Wire
Mr. Raisi’s government has unleashed a massive deployment of security forces, including riot police officers and the plainclothes Basij militia, to crack down on the protesters. Internet and cell service has been disrupted in neighborhoods where there were protests. Access to Instagram, which has been widely used by the protesters, was also restricted on Wednesday.
“For security reasons, the relevant authorities may impose certain restrictions on internet speed,” Iran’s minister for information and communications technology, Issa Zarepour, said in a statement.
The videos posted online and the scale of the response from the authorities are difficult to independently verify, but video and photographs sent by witnesses known to The New York Times were broadly in line with the images being posted widely online, showing protesters, many of them women, facing off against the police, and fires on the streets of Tehran.
The police shoved protesters to the ground, beating them with batons and firing shots and tear gas in their direction, according to witnesses and some of those videos.
Ms. Amini’s death has garnered international attention and turned her into a symbol of Iran’s restrictive and violent treatment of women and its repressive policing of the opposition.
The Iranian authorities say that Ms. Amini died from a heart attack, and have denied accusations that she suffered blows to the head while being taken to a detention facility. Her family, which has not responded to requests for comment from The New York Times, has told news outlets that she was healthy at the time of the arrest.
The protests that have swept the country are one of the most daring displays of defiance of the government’s religious and social restrictions in years, according to analysts and rights experts.
“The anger on the streets is palpable,” said Jasmin Ramsey, deputy director at the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based nonprofit organization, adding that the protests were a “culmination of the past five years where all facets of society — laborers, teachers, retirees, university students and average people everywhere — have been trying to call for an end to the crisis of impunity in Iran despite violent state repression.”
The demonstrations have largely been spontaneous and leaderless, she said, and had probably been inflamed by the photos and videos circulating across social media showing extraordinary scenes across the country, including women risking arrest by symbolically removing and burning their hijabs in public. Many have rallied on social media with hashtags in Persian referring to the death of Ms. Amini.
A police motorcycle burned during a protest in Tehran on Monday, in a photo from the state media.
A police motorcycle burned during a protest in Tehran on Monday, in a photo from the state media.Credit…West Asia News Agency, via Reuters
In the city of Kerman, in the southeast, one video showed a woman cutting her hair while sitting on a utility box in front of a roaring crowd. In the south, in the city of Shiraz, another showed an older woman shouting at a security officer, “If you think you are a man, come and kill me.” And one showed university students gathering on campuses in Tehran chanting “Killings after killings, to hell with morality police!”
“These are all acts that are punishable by law,” Ms. Ramsey said in a phone interview, referring to the videos. “They’re showing a serious challenge to the Islamic Republic in their chants and the amount of people that are in the streets,” she added.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Tehran late Tuesday, setting fire to tires, and shouting “Death to the dictator,” and “Life, liberty and women,” according to a witness.
Tehran’s governor, Mohsen Mansouri, said on Wednesday that foreign agents had hijacked the demonstrations and were fueling violence in the streets.
Witnesses said it was clear that the protests were getting broad support from people with a long litany of grievances after struggling under oppressive rules and economic hardship.
Some Iranian protesters lashed back at security forces, chasing them down the street with rocks. In Isfahan and Tehran, protesters set fire to police cars and motorcycles and in Kerman they encircled a police officer and beat and kicked him to the ground, videos showed.
At least seven people have been killed in cities in Kurdistan, Ms. Amini’s home province in the northwest of the country, according to Hengaw, a human rights group, which posted names and photos of victims online.
They were killed by “direct fire by Iranian security forces,” the group said in a statement posted to its website. At least 450 people had been injured and at least 500 were arrested in protests in cities across the Kurdish province, the group said.
The Iranian media reported that Mr. Raisi, who was scheduled to speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, told Ms. Amini’s family on Sunday that he had ordered an investigation into her death.
“Your daughter is like my own daughter, and I feel that this incident happened to one of my loved ones,” he said.
The protests were not addressed by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who gave a speech at an event on Wednesday commemorating veterans of the Iran-Iraq war. In an effort to curb the backlash, a representative of the supreme leader visited Ms. Amini’s family home, according to the state media.
“All institutions will take action to defend the rights that were violated,” the adviser, Abdolreza Pourzahabi, said in the state media. “As I promised to the family of Ms. Amini, I will also follow up the issue of her death until the final result.”
Iranian law requires all women above the age of puberty to wear a head covering and loose clothing.Credit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
On Tuesday, the United Nations acting high commissioner for human rights, Nada Al-Nashif, condemned the “violent response” of the security forces to the protests and called for an independent investigation.
“The authorities must stop targeting, harassing, and detaining women who do not abide by the hijab rules,” Ms. Al-Nashif said in a statement.
President Emmanuel Macron of France, who met Mr. Raisi on Tuesday, told BBC’s Persian news service that the “the credibility of Iran is now at stake regarding the fact that they have to address this issue.”
The unrest comes at a challenging moment for Ayatollah Khamenei, who recently canceled all meetings and public appearances because of illness, according to four people familiar with his health condition.
Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East program at Chatham House, a British research institute, said there was little hope that the protests would bring real change on such a foundational issue as long as the supreme leader, who is 83, was still alive.
“At the end of his life, he’s looking to preserve his legacy and keep the system intact,” she said. “His worldview, shared by those around him, is predicated on the idea that compromise opens the door to further compromise and demonstrates weakness rather than strength.”
Ms. Vakil said to expect a “coordinated coercive response” from the authorities in the coming days or weeks, one likely to include a further internet slowdown, violence, and more detentions of protesters.
“They might close the doors, but people will again, find a way to push open windows,” Ms. Vakil said. “And that’s what we keep seeing these continued patterns of protests — because they’re not able to, or not willing to, address popular anger and economic frustration.”