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The ongoing human rights abuses in Iran

A damning report by Amnesty International reveals severe human rights abuses in Iran's prisons following major protests in November 2019
A damning report by Amnesty International reveals severe human rights abuses in Iran's prisons following major protests in November 2019

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, September 3, 2020—Amnesty International’s new report about human rights abuses in Iran’s prisons has sent shockwaves across the world.  

“Trampling Humanity,” the report, was published on September 2, is one a harrowing account of the regime's crimes against protesters arrested during the November 2019 uprising. The document details the regime's treatment of detainees, widespread detention, disappearances and torture, and is based on investigations by Amnesty International reporters and interviews with the victims.

But while the revelations might come as a shocking surprise for many reading it abroad, for the people of Iran, this is nothing new, and it is an extension of what they have been enduring for the last 41 years at the hands of the ruling mullahs.

Thousands arrested

On November 25, 2019 thousands of Iranians took to the street in protest after the regime suddenly triple the price of gasoline. The demonstrations, which spread to nearly 200 cities and towns quickly turned into major anti-regime protests.

According to Amnesty’s report, during and in the aftermath of the protests, Iran’s police and intelligence and security forces arrested 7,000 of men, women, and children.

“Amnesty International’s research shows that many of the arrests took place during the five days of protests, but, in the days and weeks that followed, the pattern of mass arrests continued, particularly in provinces that had suffered high death tolls in a context in which the authorities had stationed significant numbers of security vehicles and personnel in public places to deter further protests,” the report said.

An eyewitness interviewed by Amnesty International said: “I was on my way to work when I was shot in the stomach. I was in shock and initially thought I had been hit with a stun gun, but then I realized I was bleeding from my stomach. I looked around me and saw many other people had also been shot, in their heads and necks. I had surgery in hospital to remove the bullet. When I was discharged a few days later, security forces in plain clothes were waiting inside the hospital to arrest me. I was detained for several days and then released on bail. The security forces were arresting everyone after their discharge from hospital. In the detention center, there were many people with gunshot wounds and other injuries.”

According to the report the security and intelligence forces have arrested hundreds of children across the country, some as young as 10, during and in the aftermath of the November 2019 protests.

A teenage protester who had participated in the protests accounted his violent arrest by the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards in Nassimshahr, Tehran. “I worked in a shoe factory and was the main breadwinner in our home… My expenses were greater than my income, and seeing my ailing mother and father suffer caused me pain,” he said.

Amnesty International report also indicated that in many detainees arrested were subjected to incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance for weeks or even months following their arrest. They were cut off from the outside world and denied contact with their families and lawyers, while the authorities refused to disclose their fate and whereabouts to their relatives.

Meanwhile, the police, security and intelligence agents and some prison officials used torture and other ill-treatment on a widespread basis against those detained. Reported methods of physical torture used against prisoners included beatings, floggings, suspension, forcing detainees into stress positions for prolonged periods, often while blindfolded or having their head covered in a bag or sack, the use of solitary confinement for 24 hours a day for periods reaching months, and the denial of sufficient food, potable water and medical treatment including medication.

Death sentences for protesters

Also, on August 30, the Iranian regime issued a double execution sentences for Navid Afkari and his two brothers, Vahid and Habib, for taking part in the August 2018 uprising in the cities of Kazerun and Shiraz.

A month earlier, the regime carried out the death sentence of Mostafa Salehi, a worker who had taken part in the 2018 nationwide protests.

Crimes against Iranian political prisoners began in the early 1980s and have continued until today. Most glaring among them is the massacre of more than Iranian political prisoners in the summer of 1988, which was never investigated by the international community, and the perpetrators were never brough to justice.

The same people who perpetrated that crime are still in power and continue to prosecute and torture dissidents and protesters. One of them is Ebrahim Raisi, the regime’s current judiciary chief. In 1988, he was Tehran’s Deputy Prosecutor and a key member of Tehran’s “Death Commission,” a trio of regime officials who carried out minutes-long trials for the prisoners being sent to the gallows. The regime’s current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was president at the time.

One of the reasons the Iranian regime’s officials have been able to continue their crimes against dissidents and protesters is the impunity they have enjoyed. The international community’s lack of interest in holding the regime to account for its human rights abuses has emboldened regime officials to continue committing crimes in prisons and the streets of Iran. And until the international community decides to take concrete action, these crimes will continue.