Amnesty International- Scores injured as security forces use unlawful force to crush protests
Written by Mansoureh Galestan on 20 January 2020.
In a report published on January 15, Amnesty International confirmed the Iranian regime’s use of violence against peaceful protesters over the regime’s downing of the Ukrainian airliner with 176 victims.
“Verified video footage, photographs and testimonies from victims and eyewitnesses on the ground obtained by Amnesty International confirm that Iranian security forces used unlawful force against peaceful protesters who gathered across Iran following the authorities’ admission that they had shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane on 8 January,” read the report.
“The evidence indicates that on 11 and 12 January security forces fired pointed pellets from airguns, usually used for hunting, at peaceful protesters causing bleeding and painful injuries. Security forces also used rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters as well as kicking and punching them, beating them with batons and carrying out arbitrary arrests,” the report added.
“It is appalling that Iran’s security forces have violently crushed peaceful vigils and protests by people demanding justice for the 176 passengers killed on the plane and expressing their anger at the Iranian authorities’ initial cover-up,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Amnesty International also confirmed that the regime’s “security forces fired pointed pellets, causing painful wounds and requiring surgical treatment to remove the pellets, as well as injuries consistent with rubber bullet use. Such pellets are used for hunting small game and are completely inappropriate for use in any policing situation.”
“Security and intelligence forces are maintaining a heavy presence in some hospitals raising fears they plan to arrest patients. Amnesty International has also received information that security forces have tried to transfer some injured protesters to military hospitals. Some medical clinics and hospitals in Tehran have turned away injured people, telling them that, if the security and intelligence forces find out they were among the protesters, they will be arrested,” read the report.
While referring to the regime’s arbitrary arrests and use of violence against the detained protesters, Amnesty added: “There are reports that scores of people, including university students, have been arrested in cities where protests have taken place, including Ahvaz in Khuzestan province; Esfahan, Esfahan province, Zanjan, Zanjan province; Amol and Babol, Mazandaran province; Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan province; Kermanshah, Kermanshah province; Sanandaj, Kurdistan province; Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan province; Shiraz, Fars province; Tabriz, East Azerbaijan province; and Tehran.”
Amnesty also referred to the “Shocking allegations of sexual violence against at least one woman arbitrarily arrested by plain-clothes security agents and detained for several hours in a police station. According to an informed source, while in detention, the woman was taken to a room where she was questioned by a security official who forced her to perform oral sex on him and attempted to rape her.”
The misogynist regime ruling Iran has been using sexual violence against women in prisons to intimidate them or force them to surrender.
“The Iranian authorities must end the repression as a matter of urgency and ensure the security forces exercise maximum restraint and respect protesters’ rights to peaceful expression and assembly. Detainees must be protected from torture and other ill-treatment and all those who have been arbitrarily detained must be released,” read the report quoting Philip Luther.
On January 8, the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people. After three consecutive days of denial, the regime was forced, due to the undeniable evidence and international pressure, to admit to its crime. On January 11, massive protests by students in many Iranian cities erupted, targeting the regime’s top authorities in their slogans, including the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, for killing the innocent passengers of the Ukrainian airliner. These protests once again underlined the Iranian people’s desire to topple this regime, as the root to all the economic and social problems.