Tuesday , 25 January 2022

More than 300 Arrested and 40 Blinded in Isfahan Protest Crackdown

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO) – According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, more than 300 protesters were arrested at the farmers’ peaceful protests against the mismanagement of the water crisis in Isfahan and around 40 people have lost at least one eye after being shot by security forces.

Iran Human Rights considers the use of pellet guns against protesters to be a crime and calls for an end to their use. “There is evidence that security forces have targeted protesters with the firearms to cause serious injury. The perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable,” said Iran Human Rights Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.  

The Isfahan farmers’ protest which began on November 8 against the government’s mismanagement of the water crisis and their demands being ignored were brutally and violently suppressed in Zayandeh Roud river’s dry banks and next to the Khajou bridge on November 26.

Detained protesters were taken to Isfahan Central Prison following the crackdown, with many still held there. Iran Human Rights estimates the number of detainees to be over 300.

Continuing to express grave concern about the arrested protesters, Iran Human Rights calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

Officials have threatened the families of many of the protesters not to speak about their arrests.

“Many of the protesters are too afraid to seek medical help despite having a lot of pellet bullets in their bodies, which may become infected. There are around 40 people in Kashani and Alzahra Hospital who have unfortunately become blind in their left or right eye. Officers posted at the hospital have threatened their families that both the injured protester and their families will be arrested if they tell anyone,” an informed source told Iran Human Rights.

“Amongst those who’ve lost their eyesight is a 16-year-old child named [name withheld by Iran Human Rights] who was shot by pellet guns at close range by security forces. As well as being blinded in one eye, his chest is also covered with pellet bullets which doctors have so far been unable to remove. He doesn’t have a father, he’s a lathe operator and lives with his stepmother. Another person named [name withheld by Iran Human Rights] has lost his left eye. He was beaten so badly before being transferred to the hospital that he has blood in his urine,” the source added.

Four others whose names have been withheld by Iran Human Rights have also lost sight in one of their eyes and are currently hospitalised.

Social media users and Iran-based civil rights activists have been showing solidarity and protesting the targeting of protesters’ eyes by security forces by sharing photos of themselves with one eye covered.

In the bloody crackdown, military and paramilitary forces targeted protesters at close range with firearms containing lead bullets.

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