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More Than 850 Executions in Iran in 2023

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  • More Than 850 Executions in Iran in 2023

    Iran has put behind one of its worst years in terms of executions, with at least 864 prisoners put to death, Indeed, the death penalty is considered one of the most severe forms of punishment, and it has been abolished or significantly restricted in over 170 countries worldwide. Only around 30 countries still actively use the death penalty. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime consistently remains at the forefront of these countries that continue to implement capital punishment. Julia Duchrow, the Deputy Secretary General, Amnesty International (Germany), has stated regarding executions in Iran, “The leader of Iran is responsible for 65% of the executions carried out worldwide last year.”

    The trend of executions continued to escalate throughout 2023, with more than 36% of the executions (313 cases) taking place in the last three months of the year, coinciding with the war in Gaza, which the regime has been using as a smokescreen to ratchet up human rights abuses at home.

    The executions have been especially harsh toward ethnic minorities. Among the victims, 191 individuals, or more than 22%, are from the most oppressed and marginalized Baluch citizens.

    Notably, among the executed were eight juvenile offenders who were under 18 at the time of committing the crime. Seven executions were shockingly carried out in public.

    Also on January 1, 2024, five prisoners were executed in Karaj Central Prison.

    On January 4, two prisoners were hanged in Ardabil, and one in Hamedan, while three others were hanged in Ardabil Central Prison in the previous ways. On Tuesday, January 2, the government news agency IRNA reported the execution of nine prisoners in Ardabil.

    Six protesters were executed in 2023 and two in December 2022. The eight protesters were sentenced to death and hanged after unfair trials, solely for their participation in the protests.

    The Iranian judiciary had issued death sentences for over 100 people who took part in the 2022-2023 protests. Some of the protesters are still in a state of uncertainty, while others remain under the shadow of the death sentences.

    In 2023, the death sentences of 693 prisoners were carried out secretly without any media coverage. Most of the data on executions is obtained through independent media and through communication with inside the prison.

    Since January 2023, the death sentences of 26 female prisoners have been executed in Iranian regime prisons, showing a 37% growth compared to the previous year.

    In the previous year, Iran became the largest executioner of women in the world by executing at least 16 women in 2022. According to Amnesty International’s report in 2022, a total of 24 women were executed worldwide, 16 of which belonged to Iran. In 2023, the regime broke its own record.

  • IRAN: SECURITY FORCES USED RAPE AND OTHER SEXUAL VIOLENCE TO CRUSH “WOMAN LIFE FREEDOM” UPRISING WITH IMPUNITY

    Security forces in Iran used rape and other forms of sexual violence, amounting to torture and other ill-treatment, to intimidate and punish peaceful protesters during the 2022 “Woman Life Freedom” uprising, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    The 120-page report“They violently raped me”: Sexual violence weaponized to crush Iran’s “Woman Life Freedom” uprising, documents in detail the harrowing ordeals of 45 survivors, including 26 men, 12 women and seven children, who were subjected to rape, gang rape and/or other forms of sexual violence by intelligence and security forces following their arbitrary arrest for challenging decades of oppression and entrenched gender-based discrimination. To date, the Iranian authorities have not charged or prosecuted any officials for the instances of rape and other sexual violence documented in the report.

    “Our research exposes how intelligence and security agents in Iran used rape and other sexual violence to torture, punish and inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on protesters, including children as young as 12. The harrowing testimonies we collected point to a wider pattern in the use of sexual violence as a key weapon in the Iranian authorities’ armory of repression of the protests and suppression of dissent to cling to power at all costs,” Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Agnés Callamard said.

    “Iran’s prosecutors and judges were not only complicit by ignoring or covering up survivors’ complaints of rape, but also used torture-tainted ‘confessions’ to bring spurious charges against survivors and sentence them to imprisonment or death. Victims have been left with no recourse and no redress; only institutionalized impunity, silencing and multiple physical and psychological scars running deep and far.”

    Intelligence and security agents in Iran used rape and other sexual violence to torture, punish and inflict lasting physical and psychological damage on protesters, including children as young as 12. The harrowing testimonies we collected point to a wider pattern in the use of sexual violence as a key weapon in the Iranian authorities’ armory of repression.

    Agnés Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General

    The report reveals that perpetrators of rape and other forms of sexual violence included agents from the Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary Basij force, and the Ministry of Intelligence, as well as different branches of the police force including the Public Security Police (police amniat-e omoumi), the Investigation Unit of Iran’s police (agahi), and the Special Forces of the police (yegan-e vijeh).  Survivors included women and girls who had defiantly removed their headscarves, as well as men and boys who took to the streets to express their outrage at decades of gender-based discrimination and oppression.

    Map of Iran showing the 17 provinces where Amnesty International documented rape and other forms of sexual violence against protesters during the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising . ©Amnesty International

    The prevalence of sexual violence during the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising is difficult to estimate, as stigma and fears of reprisals usually lead to under-reporting. Nevertheless, the organization’s detailed documentation of 45 cases in more than half of Iran’s provinces, along with accounts from survivors and other former detainees about additional instances of rape and other sexual violence against scores of detained protesters, indicates that the documented violations are part of a wider pattern.

    Amnesty International shared its findings with the Iranian authorities on 24 November but has thus far received no response.

    “ISN’T ‎THIS WHAT YOU SEEK FROM LIBERATION?”

    Sixteen of the 45 survivors whose cases were documented in the report were raped, including six women, seven men, a 14-year-old girl, and two boys aged 16 and 17. Six of them – four women and two men – were gang raped by up to 10 male agents. ‎

    State agents raped women and girls vaginally, anally and orally, while men and boys were raped anally. Survivors were raped with wooden and metal batons, glass bottles, hosepipes, and/or agents’ sexual organs and fingers. Rape took place in detention facilities and police vans, as well as schools or residential buildings unlawfully repurposed as detention places.

    Plainclothes agents made us face the walls of the vehicle and gave electric shocks to our legs…They tortured me through beatings … They pulled down my trousers and raped me…I was really being ripped apart…I was throwing up a lot and bleeding from my rectum.

    Farzad, survivor of gang-rape by security agents

    Farzad, who was gang raped in a van belonging to the Special Forces of the police told Amnesty International: “Plainclothes agents made us face the walls of the vehicle and gave electric shocks to our legs…They tortured me through beatings … resulting in my nose and teeth being broken. They pulled down my trousers and raped me…I was really being ripped apart…I was throwing up a lot and bleeding from my rectum.”

    Maryam, who was gang raped in a Revolutionary Guards detention centre, recounted that her rapists told her: “You are all addicted to penis, so we showed you a good time. Isn’t this what you seek from liberation?”

     

    Two female protesters run from security forces on motorcycles during a protest for Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested by morality police allegedly not complying with strict dress code in Tehran, © Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

    Amnesty International further documented the cases of 29 survivors who were subjected to forms of sexual violence other than rape. These routinely involved state agents grabbing, groping, beating, punching, and kicking survivors’ breasts, genitals and buttocks; enforcing nudity, sometimes in front of video cameras; administrating electric shocks, inserting needles or applying ice to men’s testicles; forcibly cutting women’s hair and/or dragging them violently by their hair; and threats to rape survivors and/or their relatives.

    Rape and other sexual violence were frequently accompanied by other forms of torture and ill-treatment, including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, administration of unidentified pills or injections, denial of food and water, and cruel and inhuman detention conditions. Security forces also routinely denied survivors medical care, including for rape-related injuries.

    NO DOMESTIC PATH TO JUSTICE

    The overwhelming majority of survivors told Amnesty International that they did not file complaints after release, fearing further harm and believing the judiciary to be a tool of repression rather than redress.

    Six survivors revealed their torture marks or complained about abuse when brought in front of prosecution officials for questioning while still in detention, but were ignored.

    Three survivors raised formal complaints after release, but two were forced to withdraw them after security forces threatened to kidnap and/or kill them or their relatives, while the third was ignored for months and told by a high-ranking official that he “mistook” a body search for sexual violence.

    Amnesty International also examined a leaked official document, dated 13 October 2022, and published by a media outlet outside Iran in February 2023, which reveals that the authorities covered up complaints of rape made by two young women against two Revolutionary Guards agents during the protests. The Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran advised in the document to classify the case as “completely secret” and suggested to gradually “close [the case] over time.”‎

    REELING FROM TRAUMA YET YEARNING FOR JUSTICE

    The women, men and child survivors told Amnesty International they continued to deal with the physical and psychological traumas of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

    I used to be a fighter in life. Even when the Islamic Republic tried ‎to break me down, I carried on. However, recently, I think about suicide a lot…I am like a person who waits all day for ‎night-time so I can sleep.‎

    Sahar, one of the survivors of sexual assault by security agents

    The mother of a schoolboy who was raped told Amnesty International that her son attempted suicide twice while in custody.

    A protester, Sahar, recounted the traumatic impact of sexual violence at the hands of security forces who removed her clothes, apart from her underwear, and touched her breasts and genitals while mocking and threatening her with rape:

    “I used to be a fighter in life. Even when the Islamic Republic tried to break me down, I carried on. However, recently, I think about suicide a lot…I am like a person who waits all day for night-time so I can sleep.”‎  

    Zahra a woman who was raped by an agent of the Special Forces police described the long-lasting psychological toll:

    “I don’t think I will ever be the same person again. You will not find anything that will bring me back to myself, to return my soul to me… I hope that my testimony will result in justice and not just for me”.

    Without political will and fundamental constitutional and legal reforms, structural barriers will continue to plague Iran’s justice system, which has time and again exposed its shameful inability and unwillingness to effectively investigate crimes under international law,” said Agnés Callamard.

    With no prospects for justice domestically, the international community has a duty to stand with the survivors and pursue justice. They should support the extension of the mandate of the UN Fact-Finding mission on Iran to ensure an independent mechanism continues to collect, preserve and analyse evidence of crimes under international law.

    Agnés Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General

    “With no prospects for justice domestically, the international community has a duty to stand with the survivors and pursue justice. They should support the extension of the mandate of the UN Fact-Finding mission on Iran to ensure an independent mechanism continues to collect, preserve and analyse evidence of crimes under international law and other gross human rights violation. We urge states to initiate criminal investigations in their own countries against suspected perpetrators under the principle of universal jurisdiction, with a view to issuing international arrest warrants.”

  • UN Committee Condemns Human Rights Violations In Iran

    A UN General Assembly committee has slammed Iran for discriminating against and harassing women and girls, in addition to a host of other human rights violations.

    The Third Committee of the 78th General Assembly approved a resolution entitled “Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran” by a vote of 80 in favor.

    The resolution, whose draft was introduced by Canada, condemned the misogynistic policies and practices of the Iranian regime, calling on Tehran to put an end to its discrimination against women.

    The regime continues to introduce yet stricter legislation to crack down on hijab and ‘chastity’ laws as more women across Iran reject the mandatory headscarf and curbs on their behavior. Surveillance has been stepped up and like Mahsa Amini, the symbol of the Women, Life, Freedom uprising which began after her death in morality police custody last year, a 16-year-old girl, Armita Geravand, also died in their hands in recent weeks.

    Citing “the Iranian authorities’ flagrant disregard for human rights, life and dignity”, the resolution condemned “the intensified, targeted repression of women and girls by Iran, both online and offline”. Women are arbitrarily arrested on the street for hijab refusal and refused entry to public spaces including universities, hospitals and public spaces.

    https://press.un.org/en/2023/gashc4401.doc.htm

  • Iranian girl in critical condition after alleged encounter over hijab, activists say

    Reuters

    EDT Updated a day ago

    DUBAI, Oct 4 (Reuters) – An Iranian teenaged girl is in critical condition in hospital, two prominent rights activists told Reuters on Wednesday, after falling into a coma following what they said was a confrontation with agents in the Tehran metro for violating the hijab law.

    Armita Geravand’s case is highly sensitive, raising concerns the 16-year-old might face the same fate as Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman whose death in a coma last year in the custody of morality police sparked months of nationwide protest.

    While authorities have denied claims by rights groups that Geravand went into a coma on Sunday after a confrontation with officers enforcing the Islamic dress code, Iranian-Kurdish rights group Hengaw posted her picture unconscious at a Tehran hospital where she was taken after the incident.

    There was no immediate response from Iran’s interior ministry to a request for comment about the incident.

    “We are following her case closely. She is in coma at Intensive Care Unit of the hospital and her condition is critical … her relatives said there is a heavy presence of plain clothes at the hospital,” one of the activists in Iran said.

    The second activist said security forces had forbidden Geravand’s parents from posting her picture on social media or from talking to human rights groups.

    The activists spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

    CCTV footage, shared on IRNA, showed Geravand without mandatory hijab accompanied by two female friends walking toward the train from the metro platform. Upon entering the cabin, one of the girls is seen immediately backing off and reaching for the ground, before another girl is dragged unconscious from the cabin by passengers.

    Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.

    The head of the Tehran Metro Operating Company, Masoud Dorosti, told IRNA the CCTV footage showed no sign of verbal or physical conflict between passengers or company employees.

    An Iranian journalist was briefly arrested on Monday when she went to the hospital to inquire about Geravand’s situation, Iranian media reported.

    “Iranian security institutions have said her condition was caused by low pressure – an oft-repeated scenario from such institutions,” Iran-based rights group Dadban said on social media.

    In a video posted on the state news agency IRNA, her parents said that their daughter had suffered a drop in blood pressure, lost her balance, and hit her head inside the metro cabin.

    “I think my daughter’s blood pressure dropped, I am not too sure, I think they have said her pressure dropped,” her mother said. But she added that there was no point in creating controversy.

    Rights groups on social media have called on authorities to publish the footage from inside the cabin, claiming that her parents’ statement was made under duress.

    Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on social media platform X said: “Once again a young woman in #Iran is fighting for her life. Just because she showed her hair in the subway. It is unbearable. The parents of #ArmitaGarawand do not belong in front of cameras, but have the right to be at their daughter’s bedside.”

    Reporting by Dubai Newsroom and Parisa Hafezi Editing by Michael Georgy and William Maclean

     

  • 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.