The first court session was held Wednesday for the trial of the security forces accused in the September 2022 massacre of peaceful protesters in Zahedan, Iran International can reveal.
Being held under Judge Mohammad Marzouyeh, the defendants are police officers accused of shooting protesters, all of whom are believed to be out on bail.
On September 30, 2022, security forces opened fire at peaceful protesters in Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan-Baluchestan, a day known as Bloody Friday amid the nationwide uprising dubbed Women, Life, Freedom.
The incident was the bloodiest during the nationwide uprising triggered by the death in morality-police custody of Mahsa Amini in 2022, resulting in the deaths of at least 105 civilians, including 17 children.
Holding the first court session 16 months after the massacre has surprised political and civil activists. Many view the trial as a desperate attempt by the Iranian regime to gain public trust and credibility in a bid to convince people to participate in the upcoming elections.
Activists said trying the police officers does not go far enough, calling for the commanders who ordered the killings to also be tried.
Since the massacre, weekly protests have continued in the province, Sistan-Baluchestan, one of Iran's poorest, a flashpoint of unrest since the uprising began.
In September, the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Organization urged the international community to refer the massacre to international judicial bodies for investigation as crimes against humanity.