Amnesty International: Iranian Tear Gas Grenades Among Those Causing Gruesome Protester Deaths in Iraq
Iranian tear gas grenades
Amnesty International said in an updated press release on Thursday that tear gas and smoke grenades that have been killing protesters in Iraq have been manufactured by the Iranian regime.
Amnesty International said it has conducted further research into the 40mm “less lethal” grenades killing protesters during the recent violence in Baghdad.
"The new analysis showed that in addition to the Serbian Sloboda Ĉaĉak M99 grenades already identified, a significant portion of the deadly projectiles is in fact M651 tear gas grenades and M713 smoke grenades manufactured by the Defense Industries Organization (DIO) of Iran," the human rights group said.
"Since first publishing our findings on 31 October, Amnesty International has reviewed and verified video evidence of four additional deaths caused by the Serbian and Iranian grenades and has received a significant number of additional photos of the weapons, via sources on the ground. It was through analyzing this new evidence that Amnesty International was able to make this identification."
Amnesty International said it does not have information on the identities of the security forces firing this Iranian M651 and M713 grenades in Baghdad.
From the first day of protests in #Iraq, Iraqi women have courageously stood side by side with the demonstrators, also expressing outrage at the corruption ravaging their nation.pic.twitter.com/4PDhGVrdNn— People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) (@Mojahedineng) November 7, 2019
The deadly grenades must be recalled from use immediately, it said. There should be an independent, impartial and transparent investigation into their use and into other cases of unlawful killings and injuries during the protests, with any security forces responsible for excessive use of force held to account, it added.
The organization’s Digital Verification Corps geolocated and analyzed video evidence from near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square documenting the fatalities and injuries – including charred flesh and “smoking” head wounds. Its military expert identified the types of tear gas grenades being used as two variants from Iran and Serbia that are modeled on military grenades and are up to 10 times as heavy as standard tear gas canisters, resulting in horrific injuries and death when fired directly at protesters.
“All the evidence points to Iraqi security forces deploying these military-grade grenades against protesters in Baghdad, apparently aiming for their heads or bodies at point-blank range. This has had devastating results, in multiple cases piercing the victims’ skulls, resulting in gruesome wounds and death after the grenades embed inside their heads,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.
“The lack of accountability for unlawful killings and injuries by security forces, responsible for the vast majority of casualties this past month, is sending the message that they can kill and maim with impunity. The authorities must rein in the police, ensure prompt, impartial, effective investigations, and prosecute those responsibly.”