- Country: Iran
ICHR strongly condemns the supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei for ordering the use of violence and deadly forces on people of Iran protesting for political, economic, and social reforms. And he must be held accountable for the killings and the crimes committed against the Iranian people.
Soon after the widespread protests started in Iran, The supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei ordered the security forces to use any measure and open fire on people protesting, in order to silence them, as he called them “thugs” and accused them of being influenced by foreign interests. Which has led to more than 300 killed and over 3000 injured, that over 100 of them were kids under age of 16.
Verified video footage, eyewitness testimony from people on the ground and information gathered from human rights activists outside Iran reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces whom have used excessive and lethal force to crush the widespread peaceful protests in more than 100 cities across Iran, that sparked by a hike in fuel prices on 15 November.
Over 300 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, meanwhile the state media have reported only a handful of protester deaths, as well as the deaths of at least four members of the security forces.
Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons. Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.
“The government of Iran must answer for their brutal and deadly crackdown on protesters and show respect for human life. The frequency and persistence of lethal force used against peaceful protesters in the recent and previous mass protests, as well as the systematic impunity for security forces who kill protesters,
Has raise serious concerns that the intentional lethal use of firearms to crush protests has become a matter of state policy.” Said: The International Centre For Human Rights Toronto-Canada (ICHR).
“People should not be Attacked, harassed, persecuted, and killed for practicing their right to freedom of speech. Ayatollah Khamenei has committed murder by ordering the killings of protesters, and he must be held accountable.” Said: Ardeshire Zarezadeh, Executive Director for Iran, and The Middle East at ICHR Canada.
“Under international law, security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force when strictly unavoidable to protect against imminent threat of death or serious injury.”
Hundreds of demonstrators blocked roads, using their parked cars as a form of protest. Verified video footages shows riot police smashing windows of cars with drivers still inside, with no regards that they could kill or injure the people inside the cars.
According to eyewitness, reports, and video footages reviewed, snipers have also shot into crowds of people from rooftops and, in some cases, in helicopter.
While most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, in some instance cases as the crackdown by security forces escalated, a small number of protesters turned to stone-throwing and acts of arson and damage to banks and seminaries.
“Even if a small minority of protesters have resorted to violence in their defence against the security forces firing at them. The police must always exercise restraint and use no more force than is strictly necessary, and lawful.”
“Violence by a few individuals does not justify a widespread reckless response, that let to over 300 dead and more than 3000 injured.” Said: Ardeshir Zarezadeh, Executive Director for Iran, and The Middle East at ICHR Canada.
Several eyewitnesses have said that security forces have been taking away dead bodies and injured people from roads and hospitals. In a pattern consistent with past practices, intelligence and security forces have refused to return the bodies of many of the victims to their families or have forced families to bury their loved ones in a rushed manner and without an independent autopsy to establish the causes and circumstances surrounding the deaths. This is contrary to international law and standards on the investigation of unlawful killings.
ICHR is also strongly calling on the Iranian government to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
“Also to immediately and unconditionally release Anyone detained solely for peacefully taking part in the protests practicing their rights to freedom of speech or criticizing the state. All detainees must be protected from torture and other ill-treatment.” Said: The International Centre For Human Rights Toronto-Canada (ICHR).
We are strongly calling for immediate action from the international community, including the UN and the EU, to hold the Ayatollah Khamenei, and the Iranian authorities accountable for carrying out unlawful killings of protesters and violently repressing their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Various government officials including the Supreme Leader, president and head of the judiciary have demonized the protesters and ordered the security forces to confront protesters with deadly force.
On 16 November, Iran’s interior minister said that the authorities will no longer show “tolerance” and “self-control” towards the protesters, despite mounting reports of protester casualties.
During a speech on 17 November, Iran’s Supreme Leader described the protesters as “villains” who were incited to violence by counter-revolutionaries and foreign enemies of Iran. He ordered security forces to “implement their duties” to end the protests, effectively giving the green light for the brutality to continue.
Judicial and security bodies have also sent threatening mass text messages warning people to stay away from “illegal gatherings” or face legal action.
Instead of giving a green light to brutality, the Iranian authorities must stop their security forces from bloodshed.
The long-standing pattern of impunity for unlawful killings and injuries in Iran is bound to continue unless independent impartial investigations are conducted into all suspected instances of arbitrary and abusive use of force, and those who commit such serious crimes and violations must be held account.
The UN and individual members of the states must publicly condemn Iran’s deadly crackdowns. And press the Iranian authorities to give access to independent human rights investigators, and UN authorities in order to conduct an investigation.