Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Iran Continues to Protest Despite Judiciary Warning

Immigration News

Arif Ahmadi
Arif Ahmadihttps://www.khaama.com/
Arif Ahmadi holds a B.A. degree in Journalism. He works as an Editor & Content Writer for Khaama Press.
Iran has been rocked by street violence that has claimed the lives of dozens people since the death last week of Mahsa Amini, who had been detained for wearing the hijab headscarf in an “improper” way. (AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran – Despite a warning from the judiciary, the Iranians have taken to the streets for a 10th consecutive night to protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, who lost her life in custody after allegedly suffering torture and physical abuse.

According to sources, at least 41 people have so far died since the unrest began on September 16; but sources say the actual figure is higher. Among then victims are mostly protesters, including members of the security forces.

Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Sunday evening that the death toll was at least 57, but noted that ongoing internet blackouts were making it increasingly difficult to confirm fatalities in a context where the women-led protests have spread to scores of cities, as The Guardian reported.

What Led to Iran’s Largest Protest in Years?

Iran’s largest protests in almost three years have seen security forces fire live rounds, while protesters have hurled rocks, torched police cars and set fire to state buildings, after the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was confirmed dead in custody due to alleged torture and physical abuse.

Amini was detained by the mortality police for not wearing a hijab properly. Hundreds of demonstrators, reformist activists and journalists have been arrested amid the mostly night-time demonstrations since unrest first broke out in mid-September.

Images circulated by IHR showed protesters on the streets of Tehran shouting “death to the dictator”, purportedly after nightfall on Sunday.

Some female protesters have removed and burned their hijabs in the rallies and cut off their hair, some dancing near large bonfires to the applause of crowds that have chanted “zan, zendegi, azadi” or “woman, life, freedom”, as The Guardian wrote.

TOPSHOT – A protester holds a portrait of Mahsa Amini during a demonstration in support of Amini, a young Iranian woman who died after being arrested in Tehran by the Islamic Republic’s morality police, on Istiklal avenue in Istanbul on September 20, 2022. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)

According to the reports on eyewitness accounts, 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.

Meanwhile, web monitor NetBlocks noted “rolling blackouts” and “widespread internet platform restrictions”, with WhatsApp, Instagram and Skype having already been blocked. This follows older bans on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.

World’s Attention to Iran’s Deadly Protest: What is Next?

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.

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.

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