A large protest in Abadan that started peacefully on May 25, 2022

A large protest in Abadan that started peacefully on May 25, 2022

Amnesty Urges Robust World Action To End Iran’s Protest Bloodshed

8/4/2022

The international community must hold the authorities to account for the torrent of violence against protesters in Iran in May 2022, Amnesty International says.

In a new briefing entitled “They are shooting brazenly”: Iran’s militarized response to May 2022 protests released on Wednesday, the global rights watchdog reiterated the urgent need for the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigative and accountability mechanism to hold Iranian authorities accountable for serious crimes under international law.

“The Iranian authorities’ unlawful use of force during the crackdown on the May 2022 protests reflects increasing militarization of the policing of protests in recent years, which has left hundreds of protesters and bystanders, including children, dead and thousands of others injured since December 2017,” Amnesty International said.

In May, southwestern parts of Iran witnessed two waves of protests. In the first half of May a government decision that resulted in a sudden rise of food prices led to largely peaceful demonstrations. Protesters chanted slogans against clerics including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi as the overnight price hike was due to the government’s decision to remove subsidies for food imports.

Iran has systematically used military force against peaceful protesters on several occasions since 2017. In November 2019 security forces armed with military weapons killed at least 1,500 people.

Amnesty International reiterated that with avenues for justice completely closed domestically, there is urgent need for the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigative and accountability mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve, and analyze evidence of the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran to enable future prosecutions.

The organization’s new research documents how Iran’s security forces unlawfully fired live ammunition and birdshot in May 2022 to crush largely peaceful protests over soaring food prices and a deadly building collapse.

The organization has verified that Iran’s security forces killed four people in connection with the protests and documented a pattern of birdshot injuries amounting to torture amongst protesters and bystanders, including children.

The next round of multiple anti-government protests took place in several cities in late May after the deadly collapse of a newly built ten-story building in the southwestern city of Abadan which according to the authorities left at least 43 people dead.

The incident instantly became an example of government corruption and insider dealings by Islamic Republic officials and led to days of large anti-government protests in Khuzestan and elsewhere.

The government deployed thousands of anti-riot police to Abadan and other cities in the province and arrested an unknown number of people, stopping the protests. Some officials later admitted that "corruption" was the underlying reason for the tragedy of the building’s collapse.

The authorities also shutdown the Internet and disrupted mobile networks in the affected areas to prevent people from communicating with each other and posting videos and photos of the violence against protesters on social media.

“Rightful outrage among people in Iran about state corruption, inflation, unemployment, low or unpaid wages, food insecurity, as well as political repression is likely to lead to more protests, and Iran’s security forces will continue to feel emboldened to kill and injure protesters if they are not held accountable,” Amnesty said Tuesday.

24 with Fardad
Science Weekly
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