Tuesday , 4 August 2020

Iran Human Rights Monitor Monthly Report – November 2019

Iran-HRM – November saw angry protests across Iran over fuel price hike which overshadowed all other issues.

The protests began on 15 November after the tripling of fuel prices and rapidly spread to 189 cities in just a few days.

In the days that followed the eruption of protests, the regime cut off access to internet across the country to hide the scale of the violence its security forces committed.

Several reports and videos show the Iranian regime’s use of lethal force against protesters during November 2019 Iran protests.

More than 1,000 people, including several children were indiscriminately shot and killed by the IRGC, Bassij, undercover intelligence agents and the police.

At least 4,000 people were shot and injured while more than 12,000 were arrested, many of them after they were shot. Protesters are under severe torture to make false confessions.

In many cities, the detainees were initially held in grade or high schools and government buildings. At the same time, the regime’s Judiciary officials in various provinces such as Tehran, Khuzestan, and Fars have spoken of holding special courts for those arrested.

The wave of arrests is continuing. Tehran’s prisons, including Evin and Fashafouyeh, are overflowing with detainees and facing severe space shortages.

The killing of the protesters is a manifest case of crime against humanity.

Iran Human Rights Monitor urges The UN Security Council, world governments and the international community to take urgent action to immediately halt the murder and suppression of the protesters.

We urge the United Nations to quickly dispatch fact-finding missions to Iran. The regime leaders must face justice for perpetrating crimes against humanity. Silence and inaction are both a violation of international conventions, laws and standards, and embolden the regime to continue its crimes.

At least 1,000 people killed in protests

Latest reports from Iran indicate the death toll from Iran protests has reached to 1,000.

At least 25 women and 22 children have been identified so far among those killed by the state security forces.

The actual number is definitely higher and Iran Human Rights Monitor continues to investigate. As time passes, more details come to light about brutal crackdown on the protests by Iranian security forces and the number of slain protesters.

Many of those killed during the protest had been shot in the head or chest, showing an intention to kill.

The bodies of many of those killed have been transferred from hospitals or where they were killed by the IRGC and other security and taken to unknown locations. The names of 341 slain protesters have been published by Iran HRM.

At least 4,000 injured; Authorities remove dead and injured protesters from hospitals

Over 4,000 people injured during the November 2019 Iran protests. Continuing calls for donations of blood by Iranian health officials also suggest that thousands of people have been injured in the crackdown.

The regime carried out a brutal suppression campaign in the middle of an internet blackout. There were reports that security officers went to hospitals to look for wounded protesters. Many injured protesters were transferred from hospitals to prison.

One doctor said the officers were removing bandages to check whether they were covering bullet wounds and arresting anyone who had them.

Security forces raided Namazi Hospital in Shiraz, and, removed dead and injured protesters to hide the true scale of the government’s brutal crackdown.

The authorities are investigating to find out the identities of protesters who were treated in the Namazi and Faqihi hospitals in Shiraz, for future arrests.

12,000 arrested in protests across Iran

The Spokesperson for National Security Committee of the regime’s Majlis acknowledged that at least 7,000 protesters were detained during the November 2019 Iran protests.

But according to information received from inside Iran, 12,000 protested have been arrested so far. The wave of arrests continues.

The Tehran Prosecutor said on November 22, that the regime has appointed “special” interrogators for arrested protesters.

There were several reports that jailed protesters are under severe torture with reports that many have been taken to hospital for broken body parts.

Reports indicate that protesters were under severe torture in the notorious Fashafuyeh Prison in Tehran, with reports of rape, sexual violence and the intentional breaking of bones by IRGC intelligence agents.

Iranian protesters detained in Karaj and Tehran are also under severe torture, including flogging, in Karaj’s Rajaie Shahr Prison. Around 420 protesters, detained in Tehran and Alborz province, have been transferred to Rajaie Shahr Prison’s Section 8, which is controlled by the Intelligence Ministry. They were forced to take off their clothes and were then beaten for hours with cables, whips and batons. Protesters were also soaked with water at nights before being brutally flogged and beaten.

Meanwhile, there are reports of Iranian protesters under torture in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison in southwestern Iran. Many protesters arrested in Shiraz have been temporarily transferred to Adel Abad Prison where has reached its full capacity. The families of the jailed protesters have not been given answers as to the condition of their loved ones.

The wave of arrests by Iranian regime security forces continues throughout the country. Iranian state media reports indicate that the regime’s suppressive forces have detained 413 people on December 1 in four provinces – Tehran 50, Kermanshah 240, Fardis Karaj 97, and Kurdistan 25. The actual number of arrests throughout the country is much higher when detentions carried out by the regime’s Intelligence Ministry, IRGC, and the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization, as well as other suppressive agencies,  are added to the tally.

Iran transforms schools into detention centers

The extent of unlawful detentions was so large that regime have turned schools in many towns into detention centers, in violation of international conventions.

A video clip posted on the internet shows how the Quds elementary school for girls was turned into a detention center by security forces. Iranian protesters blindfolded and handcuffed were first taken to this place to be transferred to prison.

Another video posted on social media indicate that the authorities have transformed another girl’s school to prison. Local sources say Najmeh Girls’ School in Shadegan city, Khuzestan, southwest Iran was used as a temporary detention center for Iranian protesters in the city.

Regime cut off access to internet to hide the scale of violence

To prevent news of the protests from reaching the world and open the way for a massive crackdown, the regime cut off internet access on November 16.

On November 17, NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet access across the world declared that the Iranian regime had imposed a “near-total internet shutdown” after protests erupted over fuel prices. According to the organization’s website, national connectivity reached 5 percent of ordinary levels. “The ongoing disruption constitutes a severe violation of the basic rights and liberties of Iranians,” NetBlocks declared on its Twitter account.

Iran officials threaten protesters with severe backlash

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader said he supported the recent gasoline price hikes that have led to major protests across Iran and urged security institutions to quell protests. In comments broadcasted on state-run media on November 17, Ali Khamenei blamed opponents of the Islamic Republic and foreign enemies for what he called “sabotage.” He called protesters as “hooligans.” Khamenei acknowledged the death of protesters in his comments. He urged Iranians not to join the protests and said that no person “who enjoys a comfortable life” would help the hooligans, hinting that those who protested would be quashed.
  • According to the IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency, Iran’s Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, notorious for his part in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Tehran, said that “the country’s security” was the regime’s priority. “Under no circumstances will we allow the least amount of disruption in the country’s security,” he said on November 22 in a gathering of the student Bassij paramilitary forces.
  • On the same day, a top cleric and senior member of the Assembly of Experts thanked Iran’s security forces for killing at least 250 protesters and injuring more than 3,5000 people. “I thank those who upheld security in the country, the Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC Intelligence Department, the Bassij, the police and others who stood against the thugs,” Ahmad Khatami said in his Friday sermon. He said that the leaders of the protests were “enemies of God” and should receive the maximum punishment. “Enmity with God” carries the death sentence according to the regime’s Islamic Penal Code. “In regard to the followers (of the leaders), decisive action should be taken against them so that they don’t take part in this kind of mischief again and so that like-minded people take heed,” Khatami added.
  • Several other senior officials have also warned that protesters would receive severe penalties, with several them demanding the death penalty for the “leaders”.

International reactions

  • On November 19, Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, said the body had received reports that dozens of people were killed during the demonstrations. Describing the extent of the reported casualties as “clearly very serious”, Colville called on authorities to uphold the demonstrators’ rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
  • A group of Nobel laureates wrote a joint letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighting the Iranian regime’s crackdown on the Iran protests.
  • Germany condemned Iran’s security forces for using excessive force during the November 2019 Iran protests. A statement from the Foreign Ministry said: “The right to peaceful protest must be respected. The people in Iran must have the opportunity to show their discontent with political and economic developments, and to voice their opinions freely and peacefully. We call on the Iranian security forces to exercise the greatest possible restraint.”
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