At Least 537 Killed in Crackdown on Iran Protests: Activist Group

0
167

The Norway-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) updated the death toll in protests in Iran last year and said the ayatollahs’ government is using an “intimidation tactic” against society.

Iranian security forces have killed at least 537 people in the crackdown on protests that erupted in September over the death of a young woman in moraI police custody, the group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Tuesday, with headquarters in Norway.

The new figure is an upward revision of the 488 deaths previously reported by IHR, which claims the difference has been openly verified.

The group also said that while only four people have since been executed on charges related to the protests, more than 300 more were hanged on other tasks, in what it described as a tactic to “intimidate” society.

The protests began in mid-September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman arrested for violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

Protesters took to the streets to call for an end to dress regulations, such as the female headscarf, and to protest against the Muslim theocracy that has ruled the country since 1979.

The authorities responded with a crackdown that human rights groups say included police firing on protesters across the country.

Most of the deaths, 223, occurred at the end of September, although 100 were registered in October and 173 in November, counts a report that marks the 200 days since Amini’s death.

The highest number of deaths, 134, was recorded in the provinces of Sistan and Balochistan in southeastern Iran, where the Baluchi Sunni minority protested for several weeks.

At least 69 deaths were registered in Tehran and 57 and 56 in Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan provinces, respectively, populated by the Kurdish minority.

Four men were executed in cases related to the protests, which IHR described as “shams” and drew international condemnation.

But the group notes that in the same period, 309 people were executed on other charges, 180 of them drug-related, without so much as a murmur from the international community.

IHR says this demonstrates how capital punishment in Iran is used as a “tool to intimidate society.”

“These are the ‘low-cost’ victims of the execution machine,” the group’s director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam told AFP. “Nobody knows about them, their executions are not criticized, but the goal is the same: spread the fear and prevent further protests.”