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No One Held Accountable For Killing Hundreds In November 2019 Iran Protests

Iran International -

The Islamic Republic of Iran has not put even one single person on trial for the killing of hundreds of unarmed protesters during the bloody protests of November 2019. Instead, the Iranian Judiciary has prosecuted and sentenced more than a hundred protesters issuing death and prison sentences and other punishments in the 12 months since the protests were heavy-handedly suppressed.

The Judiciary has sentenced three young protesters, all under 30, to death. In October the father of Amir-Hossein Moradi, one of the three young men sentenced to death, took his own life. Moradi’s family had been subjected to “psychological pressures", the media said. His son and two others are on the death row now.

According to reports by various human rights organizations, at least 460 years of prison, 5,100 lashes and other punishments such as working for the Basij militia, hospitals, and government offices or even washing corpses have also been meted out during the past year to around 120 individuals for participation in the protests. The reports are based on cases that have become public but there may be other cases and sentences that have not been disclosed.

In most cases protesters have been sentenced on vague charges of "assembly and collusion against the regime" although the Iranian Constitution recognizes the right to peaceful and unarmed protests. Other charges brought against them include "disturbing public order", "cooperation with hostile [political] groups through providing video clips [of protests]", "insulting the Supreme Leader or the President", and "disturbing the peace of mind of the public."

There are no official reports about the fate of the around 7,000 who were arrested by security forces for participating in the protests. Their names have never been announced and many have never had a chance to see family members or to have any contact with the outside world. In most cases prisoners have been deprived of legal representation and families have been threatened by security forces not to speak about their loved ones in public or to the media. 

Human rights organizations and the families of some of the prisoners have reported the use of torture against the prisoners. At least one protester, 26-year-old Nader Mokhtari, died in prison after his family found him in a hospital in a coma caused by repeated blows to the head. His body showed numerous bone fractures. The Judiciary claimed that he was a criminal.

Several cases of suicide have been reported including the suicide of eighteen-year-old Siyamak Momeni who killed himself at the notorious Fashafouyeh Prison in Tehran when he learned about being sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The nationwide protests began on the evening of November 15 after a sudden tripling of fuel prices and lasted over a week. Hundreds were killed and thousands were arrested by security forces during protests that soon it became an uprising against the Islamic Republic. The authorities shut down the Internet for a week to prevent the circulation of videos and images as security forces used live ammunition, metal pellets and tear gas.

Iran has never officially announced figures for deaths or arrests but Amnesty International has reported the killing of at least 304 protesters including at least 23 minors. Reuters on December 23, 2019 said three sources close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s inner circle had confirmed he had grown impatient and ordered officials to stop the protests. According to Reuters about 1,500 people were killed in the two weeks after November 15.

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