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Amnesty Says at Least 304 Killed in Security Crackdown on Iran Protests

Amnesty Says at Least 304 Killed in Security Crackdown on Iran Protests

Monday, 16 December, 2019 - 08:15
In this photo taken Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, and released by ISNA, people walk past buildings which burned during anti-government protests in the city of Karaj, west of the capital Tehran, Iran. (AP)

Amnesty International revealed Monday that at least 304 people were killed and thousands wounded during the Iranian authorities’ crackdown on anti-government protests between November 15 and 18.


Authorities are carrying out a vicious crackdown following the outbreak of nationwide protests on November 15, arresting thousands of protesters as well as journalists, human rights defenders and students to stop them from speaking out about Tehran’s ruthless repression, the organization said.


Authorities crushed protests using lethal force, according to credible reports compiled by Amnesty. They have refused to announce a figure for those killed.


“Harrowing testimony from eyewitnesses suggests that, almost immediately after the Iranian authorities massacred hundreds of those participating in nationwide protests, they went on to orchestrate a wide-scale clampdown designed to instill fear and prevent anyone from speaking out about what happened,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.


Video footage verified by Amnesty’s Digital Verification Corps, backed up by witness testimony, shows Iranian security forces opening fire on unarmed protesters who did not pose any imminent risk. The majority of the deaths that the organization has recorded occurred as a result of gunshots to the head, heart, neck and other vital organs indicating that the security forces were shooting to kill.


“Instead of continuing with this brutal campaign of repression, the Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those who have been arbitrarily detained,” urged Luther.


“The international community must take urgent action, including through the UN Human Rights Council holding a special session on Iran to mandate an inquiry into the unlawful killings of protesters, horrifying wave of arrests, enforced disappearances and torture of detainees, with a view to ensuring accountability.”


“The world must not stand by in silence as the Iranian authorities continue to commit widespread human rights violations in their ruthless bid to crush dissent,” he demanded.


The unrest began after the government abruptly raised fuel prices by as much as 300%. It spread to more than 100 cities and towns and turned political as young and working-class protesters demanded clerical leaders step down.


Tehran has given no official death toll but Amnesty’s toll make the disturbances the bloodiest since the 1979 revolution.


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