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Amnesty International: 23 Children Murdered by Regime’s Security Forces During November Iran Protests

At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests in Iran
At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests in Iran

At least 23 children were murdered by the Iranian regime’s security forces during the November 2019 uprising, according to Amnesty International.

In Amnesty’s briefing, ‘They shot our children’ – Killings of minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests, it was revealed that at least 22 of the children were shot dead as the regime’s security forces illegally fired live ammunition at unarmed protesters and onlookers. The regime killed 22 boys, aged 12-17, and one girl who appears to be between 8 and 12 years old. 


Amnesty’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Philip Luther said: 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.”

He called for “independent and impartial investigations” by the UN Human Rights Council into these murders and all murders of protesters during the uprising, as well as fair trials for the suspects. 

Amnesty’s evidence for this horrific crime comes from videos, photos, death certificates, eyewitnesses accounts, family interviews, and information from local human rights activists and journalists. From this they learned that: 

  • in 10 cases, the children were killed from a bullet to the head or chest, which suggests the security forces were shooting to kill 
  •  in two cases, the children died from massive trauma, including “a crushed brain”, “a shattered skull”, and “a pierced heart and lung” 
  • in one case, there are conflicting reports regarding the cause of death, with one suggesting fatal head injuries caused by security forces beating the child and one saying that the victim had been killed by metal pellets fired at their face from a close distance 

Of these deaths, which took place across 13 cities in six provinces, 12 happened on November 16, eight on November 17, and three on November 18. 

Philip Luther also said: “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.” 

The families of the victims are being subjected to harassment and intimidation by the regime to stop them from speaking out, which alongside the quick burials and low-key funerals is evidence of the regime’s cover-up. 

Luther said: “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.” 

The protests started on November 15 over the tripling of fuel prices and soon became about regime change. According to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran  (MEK) over 1500 protesters were killed, so the number of slain children is much higher than 23. Reports by the MEK obtained from the Iranian prisons also confirms tortures by the regime, including sexual harassment against adolescents in prisons.