Rights group Amnesty International said Thursday that at least 82 Baluchi people have been killed in Zahedan, the provincial capital of Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan since last Friday.
The group said Iranian security forces killed at least 66 people, including children, and injured hundreds of others after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters, bystanders and worshippers during a violent crackdown after Friday prayers on September 30. Since then, another 16 people were killed in separate incidents in Zahedan amid an ongoing clampdown on protests.
Local Baluchi sources said, however, that the real death toll from Zahedan is at least 91 while images and videos of the protests suggest the real number is likely to be higher.
Despite state media’s claims that Jaish al-Adl Salafi jihadist militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack in Zahedan, local Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid rejected "any involvement of Jaish al-Adl or any other group."
Widely referred to as “Bloody Friday” on social media, the onslaught marked the deadliest day on record since nationwide protests started across Iran three weeks ago, after the death of Mahsa Amini in custody of hijab police.
“The Iranian authorities have repeatedly shown utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and will stop at nothing to preserve power. The callous violence being unleashed by Iran’s security forces is not occurring in a vacuum. It is the result of systematic impunity and a lackluster response by the international community,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“It is particularly abhorrent that nearly three years after the November 2019 protests, in which hundreds of people were unlawfully killed, the Iranian authorities have shamelessly continued their ruthless assault on human life,” she added.
Leading Iranian Sunni cleric Molavi Abdolhamid confirmed on October 2 that plainclothes security agents fired live bullets at the heads and hearts of unarmed people.