TEHRAN, Iran – Amnesty International urged leaders at the UN General Assembly to call for an independent probe into violence in Iran, sources said, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini unleased a flood of simmering anger over numerous issues.
Last week, Amini died in custody after allegedly suffering torture and physical abuse for three days – who was arrested by morality police for “unsuitable attire”. Her dealth unleashed a flood of simmering anger over numerous issues including rights, security and an economy reeling from international sanctions.
“The global outpouring of rage and empathy over Mahsa Amini’s death must be followed by concrete steps by the international community to tackle the crisis of systemic impunity that has allowed widespread torture, extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings by Iranian authorities to continue unabated both behind prison walls and during protests,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, as Arab News reported.
Eltahawy warned that Iran’s security forces will continue to feel emboldened to kill or injure protesters and prisoners, including women arrested for defying abusive compulsory veiling laws, if they are not held accountable.
“With all avenues for accountability closed at the domestic level, the UN Human Rights Council has a duty to send a strong message to the Iranian authorities that those responsible for crimes under international law will not go unpunished,” she said, as reported by the Arab News.
According to the report, Amnesty gathered eyewitness accounts and analyzed protest videos. Its findings show security forces used birdshot and other shells against peaceful protesters in a dramatic escalation of violence.
“Riot police were repeatedly firing towards people from about 100 meters away,” said a source from the city of Kamyaran, as quoted by the Arab News. “I myself witnessed at least 10 to 20 people who were shot with metal pellets … Most of them were injured in their backs as they were running away.”
“In response to people chanting ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ and ‘Death to the Dictator,’ security forces fired weapons loaded with metal pellets, often from a distance of about 20 to 30 meters … They particularly targeted people in their head,” said another source based in the city of Mahabad.
During later rounds of protests on Sept. 19, security forces violently arrested hundreds of demonstrators in cities across western Iran.
Protests raged for a firght straight day across Iran on Wednesday, where authorities said three people had been killed during unrest over the death of a young woman in police custody.