AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL; Iran: At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests – new evidence

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 
PRESS RELEASE 
Iran: At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests – new evidence
Collage Child Victims - Reduced size

 

Dear friends,

Today, Amnesty International issued a briefing entitled ‘They shot our children’ – Killings amnesty-internationalof minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests which presents evidence uncovered by Amnesty International that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year.

The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Twelve of the 23 deaths recorded by Amnesty International took place on 16 November, a further eight on 17 November, and three on 18 November. Details of the deaths are included in the new briefing.

Please find attached the briefing and its accompanying press release (in English and Persian). The briefing and press release are available at the following links: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/1894/2020/en/ [briefing] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/03/iran-at-least-23-children-killed-by-security-forces-in-november-protests-new-evidence/ [press release]

Many thanks and best wishes,
Iran team

  • AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 
    PRESS RELEASE 
    4 March 2020 
     
    Iran: At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests – new evidence
     
    An investigation by Amnesty International has uncovered evidence that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year.
     
    At least 22 of the children were shot dead by Iranian security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders, according to the findings.
     
    The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Details of their deaths are included in a new Amnesty International briefing, ‘They shot our children’ – Killings of minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests.
     
    “In recent months an increasingly gruesome picture has emerged of the extent to which Iranian security forces unlawfully used lethal force to crush last year’s nationwide protests. However, it is still devastating to learn that the number of children who fell victim to this brutality is so shockingly high,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
     
    “There must be independent and impartial investigations into these killings, and those suspected of ordering and carrying them out must be prosecuted in fair trials.”
     
    Amnesty International has gathered evidence from videos and photographs, as well as death and burial certificates, accounts from eyewitnesses and victims’ relatives, friends and acquaintances on the ground, and information gathered from human rights activists and journalists. 
     
    In 10 cases, Amnesty International learned from the description of injuries on the death or burial certificates it reviewed, or information from credible sources, that the deaths occurred as a result of gunshots to the head or torso – indicating that the security forces were shooting to kill.
     
    In two of the cases, burial certificates set out in detail the devastating impact on
    the children’s bodies. One cited injuries including bleeding, a crushed brain and a shattered skull. The other indicated that the cause of the death was extensive internal bleeding, and a pierced heart and lung. 
     
    In one child’s case, there are conflicting reports on the cause of death, with one referring to fatal head injuries sustained by beatings by security forces and another referring to the firing of metal pellets at the victim’s face from a close distance. 
     
    Twelve of the 23 deaths recorded by Amnesty International took place on 16 November, a further eight on 17 November, and three on 18 November. The protests started on 15 November.
     
    The 23 children are recorded as having been killed in 13 cities in six provinces across the country (Esfahan, Fars, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kurdistan and Tehran), reflecting the widespread nature of the bloody crackdown. 
     
    “The fact that the vast majority of the children’s deaths took place over just two days is further evidence that Iranian security forces went on a killing spree to quash dissent at any cost,” said Philip Luther.
     
    “As the Iranian authorities have refused to open independent, impartial and effective investigations, it is imperative that member states of the UN Human Rights Council mandate an inquiry into the killings of protesters and bystanders, including these children, in the November protests.” 
     
    On 25 February, Amnesty International wrote to Iran’s Minister of Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli to provide him with the list of the names of the 23 children recorded as killed, along with their ages and places of death, and to seek the authorities’ comments on the circumstances of their death. As of 3 March, the organization had received no response.
     
    State cover-up and harassment
     
    Amnesty International spoke to relatives of some the children killed who described being subjected to harassment and intimidation, including surveillance and interrogations by intelligence and security officials. At least one family received veiled death threats against their surviving children and were warned that “something horrible” would also happen to them if they spoke out.
     
    This corresponds with a broader issue where families of those killed in protests are being intimidated by the state from talking openly about their deaths. Most have reported being forced to sign undertakings that they would not speak to the media, and observe restrictions on how they commemorate their loved ones in
    order to be able to receive their bodies. In many cases, security and intelligence officials have placed the families under surveillance, and attended their funeral and memorial ceremonies in order to ensure that the restrictions are observed. 
     
    Families of children killed also reported being forced to bury them quickly in the presence of security and intelligence officials, thereby preventing them from seeking an independent autopsy. Such conduct appears aimed at suppressing incriminating evidence. 
     
    In general, Amnesty International’s research has found that the families of those killed in protests have been consistently excluded from autopsies undertaken by the state forensic institute and denied access to information on the circumstances of their deaths, including details of the ammunition that killed them and the weapon that fired it.
     
    In some cases, officials washed and prepared the bodies of victims for burial without notifying their families and then handed them the bodies, wrapped in shrouds, just minutes before the scheduled burial. Amnesty International understands that in these cases, security and intelligence officials generally sought to prevent families from pulling back the shrouds to see the bodies of their loved ones. As a result, some families say they were not able to see the impact of injuries. 
     
    In other cases, authorities have also refused to hand over the belongings of the victims to their relatives, including their phones, raising suspicions that they worried these contained evidence of unlawful actions by the state. 
     
    “As if the loss of their loved ones was not cruel enough an experience to bear, families of children killed during the protests are facing a ruthless campaign of harassment to intimidate them from speaking out,” said Philip Luther. 
     
    “The authorities also seem to be desperate to prevent bereaved relatives finding out the full truth about the killings, and getting hold of evidence that would incriminate those responsible. This bears all the hallmarks of a state cover-up.” 
     
    Background 
     
    Protests erupted in Iran on 15 November 2019 following a sudden government announcement about a fuel price hike. According to credible reports compiled by Amnesty International, at least 304 people were killed and thousands injured between 15 and 18 November as authorities crushed the protests using lethal force. During and following the protests, the Iranian authorities arbitrarily detained thousands of detainees and subjected some to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment. 
     
    ENDS
     
    Public Document 
    ****************************************
     
    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
     
    +44 207 413 5566 
     
    Out of hours contact details:
    +44 20 7413 5566 
     
    Twitter: @amnestypress

About Kurdish American Committee for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran(kacdhri)

Kurdish American Committee for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran On November 2005 a group of Kurdish-Americans decided to organize a committee to work on Kurdish issues in Iran and to build a relationship among Iranian opposition groups toward democracy in Iran. The following points clarified a need for organizing and helping the Iranian political parties to come together and to start coordinating their efforts We considered that: 1. Iran is not a homogeneous ethnic society and formidable Iranian opposition parties are aligned with separate ethnic groups. 2. Persians are a minority who has been the dominating power since the end of WWI and all other minority groups have revolted at some point during the 20th century and continue to do so in this century. 3.Kurdish struggle for human rights and self-determination is the longest and most mature democratic national movement in Iran, the only one to have developed a constitution for a democratic society (The Republic of Kurdistan, Mahabad 1947). 4. We considered that any political opposition to the Islamic regime without the involvement of Turkmans, Baluoch, Azeri, Kurd and Arab groups would fail. 5. Almost all Persian nationalist parties have vowed to side with the Islamic regime to “fight” minority groups and democracy. Based on the above ideas and considerations, Kurdish Americans from Iran organized a Committee for Democracy on December 2005. “Kurdish American Committee for democracy in Iran” had a sense of obligation to take an active role in organizing the Iranian opposition groups by:

Posted on March 4, 2020, in English and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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