50 dead and 3,000 detained in Iranian protests, and international organisations condemned
6th January 2018
Mass protests erupted against the Iranian authorities in many Iranian cities considered a "day of anger" against the rule of the jurist in the country, where protesters denounced the policy of the authorities to kill demonstrators, while human rights organisations claimed the death of 50 people, and the arrest of about 3 thousand people, while the authorities officially admitted the killing of 24 protesters.
According to reliable sources, "the Iranian authorities transferred most of the detainees to the secret detentions that belong to the Iranian intelligence services to put the detainees under physical and psychological torture to take confessions of other persons participated in peaceful protests in the country, which this policy is prohibited by international laws and humanitarian.
Protests in Iran
In Ahwaz, since December 3, after the invasion of the village of Jalizi by the Iranian forces and the arrest of 40 women and the confiscation of agricultural land for Arab citizens; and in the rest of Iran since 28 December 2017, there has been a wave of demonstrations across the country expressing anger over poverty, high unemployment, corruption and inequality; demands for the release of political prisoners and the outright rejection of the ruling political system. Some demonstrators have described the regime as a "religious dictatorship" aimed at fighting the human dogma of life in Iran.
These protests started firstly in Ahwaz on 3rd December then in whole Iran which started in Mashhad (Iran’s second largest city) on 28th December and has spread now to about 74 cities across the country. So far, at least 50 people, including two teenagers and one pregnant woman, have been killed.
In addition, there was a heavy police presence in the streets of Iranian cities including Ahwazi cities to suppress peaceful demonstrators who urged for freedom and rights.
Death penalty for dissent
The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Tehran, claiming that the recent popular protests in Iran are "turbulent," threatened protesters with executions. Musa Ghazanfarabadi, in an interview with Raja News, said: "Those who are arrested on the third day after the riots their sentences will be heavy because, the Interior Ministry has declared that the gatherings are illegal’’.
Several Western nations have called on Iran to respect freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez on Wednesday 3rd January 2018 expressed regret for the loss of life in Iran, which is witnessing protests against power and economic difficulties and intermittent violence that killed 50 people.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called for freedom of expression and the right to peaceful demonstration after protests in Iran continued for several days. The Minister said "the UK is watching the events in Iran carefully’’. He expressed regret over the killing of demonstrators in Iran and called on Iranian officials to respect international human rights obligations.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed his concern about the killing of demonstrators and called on Iran to respect the rights of the people to demonstrate. The European Union urged the Iranian government to ensure the right to peaceful demonstrations and non-violence to disperse demonstrators on Iranian streets.
Washington has imposed new sanctions on Iran and called for an emergency meeting by the Security Council. For example, the USA has imposed sanctions on five Iranian companies accused of participating in Iran's ballistic missile program in a move linked to the protests. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nicky Haley warned before the meeting that the protests in Iran could turn into a conflict similar to what happened in Syria.
Donald Trump, the US president has repeatedly expressed his support for the protest movement in Iran, saying "all respect for the protestors in trying to get rid of its corrupt government."
On the other hand, Amnesty International urged Iran to release all detainees held in the protests. The organisation confirmed that at least 1,000 people had been arrested in the protests and were threatened with torture to extract confessions in security cells and riot police in Iran.
According to Amnesty International's report, video footage and eyewitnesses appeared on social media outlets and mainstream media, showing riot police and other security forces firing on demonstrators in Iran. The protesters were beaten with batons and Iranian security forces used tear gas to disperse the crowd. Therefore, more than 1,000 people were arrested and detained in notorious prisons for torture, and many detainees were denied access to their families and lawyers.
Therefore, the Ahwazi Human Rights organisation called for the need to protect all detainees from torture and other ill-treatments. The organisation urged Iran to release all detainees, including Ahwazi detainees who arrested in several cities of Ahwaz.
"Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - which means that the Iranian authorities must uphold the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Therefore, Iran should release all detainees detained in protests from Iranian and Ahwazi prisons."
By: Kamil Alboshoka