Saturday , 25 September 2021

Security forces use deadly force to quell Khuzestan protests amid internet blackout

Iran-HRM – Amnesty International called on the Iranian authorities to immediately stop the killing and arrest of protesters in Khuzestan and to recognize the right of the people to freedom of expression and peaceful protests.

In a report today, Amnesty International said security forces had killed at least eight protesters and bystanders, including a teenage boy, since protests began.

Amnesty identified the men as Mostafa Asakereh (Naimavi) in Shadegan, Ghassem Naseri (Khozeiri) in Kut-e Abdollah, Isa Baledi and Meysam Achrash in Taleghani, Hamzeh (Farzad) Fereisat in Ahvaz, Mehdi Chanani in Shoush, Hamid Mojadam (Jokari) in Chamran, and a teenage boy, Hadi Bahmani, in Izeh. The deaths resulted from incidents on 16, 19, 20 and 21 July.

The statement released on Friday, July 23, also confirmed the arrest of a large number of protesters.

The rights group said: “Scores of people, including children, have been injured, including by birdshot, and several are hospitalized in critical condition due to gunshot wounds. Security and intelligence forces have swept up dozens of protesters and activists, including many from the Ahwazi Arab minority, in mass arrests.”

Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Using live ammunition against unarmed protesters posing no imminent threat to life is a horrifying violation of the authorities’ obligation to protect human life. Protesters in Iran who take to the streets to voice legitimate economic and political grievances face a barrage of gunfire, tear gas, and arrests.”

The report said security forces used live ammunition and birdshot to crush Khuzestan protests. According to the rights group, “video footage from the past week, coupled with consistent accounts from the ground, indicate security forces used deadly automatic weapons, shotguns with inherently indiscriminate ammunition, and tear gas to disperse protesters.”

In addition to this, the protests turned deadly on the eighth day of the Khuzestan protests in July 22 with the state security forces opening fire on protesters in the city of Aligudarz, a town in the western province of Lorestan.
Unconfirmed local reports said at least three to four protesters were killed last night only in the city on the first day of their protests in support of Khuzestan Province.

State-run media also confirmed the death of one unidentified person during protests in Aligudarz, in Lorestan Province. According to IRIB, a 20-year-old man was shot and killed by “unknown elements” and two 16-year-old teenagers were injured.

Iranian authorities have always blamed protesters for deaths occurring during brutal crackdowns by security forces.

Severe disruptions of Internet services are being reported, a disruption that Netblocks, a web-outage monitor, attributed at least in part to “state information controls or targeted Internet shutdowns.”