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UN Special Rapporteur shocked by crackdown on protesters in Iran

UN Special Rapporteur shocked by crackdown on protesters in Iran

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Javaid Rehman has said he was “shocked” at the number of deaths, injuries, and torture of protesters in the November 2019 uprising.

The main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), reported that the regime killed at least 1,500 protesters, injured 4,000, and arrested 12,000 holding them under torture, during and after the nationwide uprising over the rise in fuel prices.

The regime even ordered the security forces to shoot unarmed citizens or into large crowds. Other human rights groups, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Monitor, as well as photos and videos from the scene, confirmed this.

In a report released on February 19, Rehman wrote: “According to reports, detainees are being tortured or are suffering other forms of ill-treatment, sometimes to extract forced confessions. There are also reports of denials of medical treatment, including for injuries caused by the excessive use of force by the security forces, with some other detainees being held incommunicado or being subjected to enforced disappearance.”

He said that a member of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committee of the regime admitted in the days after the protests that over 7,000 protesters had been arrested, held in overcrowded cells and denied access to a lawyer. Rehman said they were being tortured to extract forced confessions that would benefit the regime’s narrative. 

He further said that he was “concerned” over reports that the regime has been threatening the families of those killed by security forces against speaking to the media or holding vigils for their lost loved ones.

Rehman’s report, compiled under the UN General Assembly (UNGA)’s Resolution 74/167, will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council gathering on March 9.

In it, the UN Special Rapporteur urged the regime to immediately and unconditionally free all protesters arrested in November 2019, as well as inform the families of their location and condition. He also called on the international community to act to prevent further human rights violations in Iran. This is something that has been welcomed by the Iranian Resistance as it echoes their long-held calls. Maryam Rajavi, the president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has repeatedly urged the UN Secretary-General to “dispatch an international fact-finding mission to Iran to investigate the conditions of death and injury of protesters in November and visit Iranian prisons and prisoners”.