Amnesty revises up Iran protest crackdown death toll to at least 304

Rights group details harrowing testimony suggesting that after authorities massacred protesters, they orchestrated a wide-scale clampdown to cover up deaths

Human rights monitor Amnesty International said Monday there are credible reports that at least 304 people were killed in Iran’s crackdown on protests  sparked by November’s petrol price hikes. 

“At least 304 people were killed and thousands were injured between 15 and 18 November as authorities crushed protests using lethal force, according to credible reports compiled by the organization,” the watchdog said. 

“The Iranian authorities have refused to announce a figure for those killed.” 

The protests began on Friday, November 15 when the Iranian government announced it was immediately raising the price of petrol from 1,000 to 3,000 tomans ($0.23). 

Under increasing economic pressure, partly as a result of US economic sanctions, and with more than 70 percent of the population in need of government support, thousands of people took to the streets. 

Combined with other latent grievances, the four-day wave of unrest quickly morphed into an anti-government movement and engulfed almost the entire country.

“The majority of the deaths that the organization has recorded occurred as a result of gunshots to the head, heart, neck, and other vital organs, indicating that the security forces were shooting to kill,” Amnesty said.

Several thousand people were arrested and many of them subjected to torture, according to Iranian human rights organizations. 

Some protesters are still unaccounted for – leading to speculation they are still being held in secret or have been murdered. 

There were rumors on Sunday that a body found in a dam in the Kurdish city of Mariwan could be that of a young protester allegedly killed under torture. 

Mariwan saw a bloody confrontation between protesters and security forces which led to dozens of arrests.  

“Harrowing testimony from eyewitnesses suggests that, almost immediately after the Iranian authorities massacred hundreds of those participating in nationwide protests, they went on to orchestrate a wide-scale clampdown designed to instill fear and prevent anyone from speaking out about what happened,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa research director. 

US authorities have condemned the Iranian government’s handling of the protests and suggested the death too could be as high as 1,000.

“As the truth is trickling out of Iran, it appears the regime could have murdered over a thousand citizens,” Brian Hook, the US special envoy to Iran, said December 5.

The killing of protesters and the subsequent crackdown has sparked condemnations from the international community and human rights organizations. 

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Iranian authorities “must undertake prompt, independent, and impartial investigations into all violations that have taken place, including the killing of protesters and reported deaths and ill-treatment in custody. And those responsible must be held accountable”.

“There appear to be multiple violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified and is obliged to uphold,” she added. 

Several sources independently told Amnesty International that security forces are still carrying out raids across the country to arrest people in their homes and places of work.

Children as young as 15 have been detained alongside adults at some of Iran’s most notorious jails, including Tehran’s Fashafouyeh prison, where torture and other ill-treatment is well documented. Detainees have also been held in military barracks and in schools.

Related Articles

Back to top button