Annual Analytical and Statistical Report on Human Rights in Iran for the year 2022

Department of Statistics and Publications of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA)— 2022, has been an eventful year in Iran, with at least 3046 protests being held across all provinces of Iran, and at least 22655 individuals arrested in violation of their right to freedom of expression. More so in an extremely alarming rate the executions carried out in 2022 compared to the previous year, increased by 88%, and the number of death sentences issued has also increased by 8%.

This annual report on human rights violations in Iran is the result of collection, analysis, and documentation of 13342 reports concerning human rights, gathered from 267 news sources during 2022. The report is divided into sections based on the categories of human rights areas of concern such as women rights, ethnic rights, religious rights, death penalty, etc. In each section charts, graphs, and illustrations in addition to analysis discusses the human rights concerns and emerging trends compared to the previous year.

This report is the result of the work of courageous human rights activists in Iran who pay a very high cost for striving to enact their humanitarian beliefs. However, for obvious reasons (i.e. existing governmental limitations, bans on the free exchange of information and government interference with the existence of human rights organizations in the country), this report by no means is free of errors and cannot solely reflect the actual status of human rights in Iran. Having said that, it should be emphasized that this report is considered one of the most accurate, comprehensive, and authentic reports on human rights conditions in Iran. It serves as an informative resource for human rights activists and organizations working on Iran who seek to better understand the challenges and opportunities that they may face.

Click on the Image Above to download the PDF version of the Full report

Former Nazi camp secretary found guilty of complicity in 10,500 murders

Article by The Guardian, Kate Connolly, published on Dec, 20 2022

Irmgard Furchner, 97, who worked at Stutthof concentration camp during the second world war, is given a two-year suspended sentence

Irmgard Furchner at the trial in Itzehoe in October. Photograph: Reuters

A 97-year-old former secretary at a Nazi concentration camp has been found guilty of complicity in the murder of more than 10,500 people imprisoned there, and handed a two-year suspended sentence.

Irmgard Furchner, who has been on trial in the northern German town of Itzehoe for more than a year, spoke to the court on one occasion earlier this month to say she was sorry for what had happened, but stopped short of admitting her guilt.

The start of her trial was delayed in September 2021 when she briefly went on the run. Having failed to turn up at court, she was found by police hours later on the outskirts of Hamburg, after which she was held in custody for five days and fitted with an electronic wrist tag.

Furchner had worked at the Stutthof camp between 1943 and 1945 as a secretary to the camp commandant, Paul-Werner Hoppe, when she was 18 and 19. She was tried in a juvenile court owing to her age at the time the crimes were committed.

She is the first civilian woman in Germany to have been held responsible for crimes committed in a Nazi concentration camp.

The judge, Dominik Gross, said the trial would be “one of the worldwide last criminal trials related to crimes of the Nazi era” and took the unusual step of allowing the proceedings to be recorded for “historical purposes”.

The trial, which took place over 40 days of sessions of about two hours’ duration due to the accused’s advanced age, heard from 30 survivors and relatives of prisoners of Stutthof from the US, France, Austria and the Baltic states.

It also heard from historical experts who gave details of the daily life at Stutthof and the role Furchner played in assisting the bureaucratic processing of prisoners, as well as information about the treatment of prisoners, including torture methods and the procedures involved in the systematic murder of thousands of them, to which they said she had been privy.

Many prisoners were left to starve and freeze in the open air. An estimated 63,000 to 65,000 people, about 28,000 of whom were Jewish, were murdered at Stutthof, mostly in gas chambers, some by a shot to the back of the neck, for which the prison had a specially built facility.

One of the most memorable testimonies was that of 84-year-old Josef Salomonovic, who survived Stutthof and gave evidence in December 2021 after travelling to the court from his home in the Czech Republic. His father, Erich, had been executed in Stutthof.

Salomonovic held up a photograph of his father and addressed Furchner directly. Outside the courtroom, he said he had wanted to confront her with the image of his father. “She is indirectly guilty, even if she was only sitting in the office,” he said.

Josef Salomonovic in the witness stand in the courtroom at the trial of Irmgard Furchner (pictured in the background) in Itzehoe, Germany. Photograph: Getty Images

During the trial, court officials including the judge visited the preserved site of Stutthof, near Gdansk, Poland, in what was then territory that had been annexed by Germany. There they saw for themselves the proximity of Furchner’s desk – in the office she shared with other secretaries – to the workings of the camp’s death machinery, including gas chambers, a crematorium and a gallows.

They concluded that the view she had from her window, her walk to and from the office, along with the orders she was instructed to process on her typewriter and via telephone, were enough for her to have had sufficient insight into and have therefore actively participated in what was going on in the camp.

During the trial, Furchner conversed regularly with the judge through her lawyer, but said little. She typically was brought to court in an ambulance flanked by doctors, wearing sunglasses and a face mask and in a wheelchair.

Her lawyer, Wolfgang Molkentin, said his client did not deny the crimes that had taken place in Stutthof, but denied having been guilty of them herself.

Reacting to the verdict, Manfred Goldberg, 92, who was deported to Stutthof in August 1944 and spent more than eight months there as a slave worker before being sent on a death march just days before the war ended, and finally being liberated in Germany in May 1945, said he could not believe that Furchner did not know what was happening where she worked.

“It is my belief that it would have been impossible for Furchner not to have known what was going on there, as she claims. Everything was documented and progress reports, including how much human hair had been harvested, sent to her office,” he said.

Goldberg, who later settled in the UK where he married and had children, said the importance of the trial was in letting the world know “that there is no limitation of time for crimes of such cruelty or magnitude”, but he was disappointed at the two-year suspended sentence.

“This appears to me to be a mistake. No one in their right mind would send a 97-year-old to prison, but the sentence should reflect the severity of the crimes. If a shoplifter is sentenced to two years, how can it be that someone convicted for complicity in 10,000 murders is given the same sentence?”

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said the trial had shown that the passage of time was “no barrier to justice when it comes to those involved in perpetrating the worst crimes mankind has ever seen.

“Stutthof was infamous for its cruelty and suffering … the testimony shared by survivors during this trial has been harrowing and their bravery in reliving such horrific memories must be commended.”

A Comprehensive Report of the First 82 days of Nationwide Protests in Iran

HRANA – Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old young woman, was arrested by the morality police for the crime of improper hijab. Her arrest and death in detention fueled nationwide protests in Iran. Protesters came to the streets with the central slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in protest against the performance, laws, and structure of the regime. The following 486-page report is dedicated to the statistical review, analysis, and summary of the first eighty-two days of the ongoing protests (September 17 to December 7, 2022). In this report, in addition to the geographic analysis and the presentation of maps and charts, the identity of 481 deceased, including 68 children and teenagers, an estimated of 18,242 arrested along with the identity of 3,670 arrested citizens, 605 students and 61 journalists or activists in the field of information is compiled. In addition, the report includes a complete collection of 1988 verified video reports by date and topic. The report examines protests across 1115 documented gatherings in all 31 provinces of the country, including 160 cities and 143 universities.

Summary

Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a young 22-year-old woman from Saqqez, Kurdistan was visiting Tehran, when she was taken into custody on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, by the Morality Police officers at the Haqqani metro station in Tehran. The reason for her arrest: not properly observing the strict Islamic dress code. Mahsa/Zhina was taken to the infamous detention center of Moral Security Police known as Vozara.
Shortly after Mahsa’s arrest, she went into a coma with level three concussion, and her partially alive body was transferred to the intensive care unit of Kasra Hospital. Given the track record of the police and Guidance Patrols in mistreating the arrestees and similar previous incidents, with the believe that Mahsa was beaten during the arrest people were outraged.
Unpersuasive explanations given by the Central Command of the Islamic Republic Police Force (FARAJA) in defense of its actions regarding the death of Mahsa, the past performance of the police force, along with widespread dissatisfaction with the existence of a body called the Moral Security Police, fueled widespread protests in Iran.
The widespread protests sparked at the time Mahsa Amini was announced dead in front of Kasra Hospital on Argentina Street in Tehran, and then quickly spread to the streets despite the intimidating presence of Iran’s security forces. The protests intensified after Mahsa’s burial in a Saqqez cemetery. To the extent that after eighty-two days of nationwide protests between September 17, 2022, to December 7, 2022, they have spread to Iran’s all 31 provinces, 160 cities, and 143 major universities.
The protests did not stay limited to Mahsa’s death, it rather, quickly targeted the Iranian government’s political and ideological foundations. These protests were violently quashed by the anti-riot police and Iran’s militia force (Basij). teargas, pellets, and live ammunition were used in the repression of protestors. This widespread crackdown has led to the death of dozens of people and the wounding of hundreds of protestors.
Despite sever communication restrictions imposed by the Islamic Republic, this report attempts to give a clearer picture of the first 82 days of the protests between September 17, to December 7, 2022. It’s worth mentioning at the time of this report the protests are still ongoing in various forms.

For further inquiries please contact Skylar Thompson, Senior Advocacy Coordinator Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) at [email protected]

HRAs Spreading Justice urges governments to deny active members of Student Basij entry visas abroad. 

The Spreading Justice initiative (SJ) of Human Rights Activists (HRA) has received ample evidence and information on the involvement of University Student Basij Forces in the crackdown of protesters during the ongoing protests in Iran, especially at the universities. These involvements include physical confrontation with protesting students, gathering protesting student information and providing them to security forces, and doing so aiding the arrests of students. 

However Student Basij members, despite their vital role in the crackdowns are left under the radar and often do not pay any cost for their involvement with the suppression of student movements. Many of the Student Basij members travel, study, or immigrate abroad with full impunity. 

The Student Basij was formed by the direct order of the founder of Islamic Republic, Khomeini, on 23 November 1988. This institution was formed in universities with the aim of “the defense of Islam, the revolution, and the values of the ruling system, to link the Hawza and the university”, “explaining, promoting, and realizing the orders of the former and current supreme leaders of Islamic Republic, namely Ruhollah Khomeini and Seyed Ali Khamenei”, and “Identifying and training of loyal, committed, and aligned forces with the characteristics of the Islamic Revolution for the perpetuation of the Islamic Revolution”. Ever since, Student Basij has had offices in universities across the country where students have been voluntarily recruited.

Student Basij is organizationally affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Ground Forces (NEZSA). The commander of the national student Basij is appointed by the IRGC commander, and the provincial commanders of Student Basij are appointed by the provincial IRGC commanders. 

The Student Basij have a history of involvement in the suppression of student movements in the universities at least since 1999, and their role in crackdowns on university movements and activists has increased ever since. The Student Basij has a history of violent confrontations, spying on students, and paving the way for the entry of intelligence-security forces to repress student movements. 

Student Basij members receive ideological training and are highly loyal to the supreme leader, Khamenei. Often, their role within the system does not end with their studies. Due to their loyalty and training, they are of great value for the government and often they move on to assume governmental and security positions within the system following their studies. 

We believe that Student Basij and its affiliations should not enjoy international impunity for three main reasons. 

  1. Student Basij plays a vital role in combating democratic seeking movements of Iranian people, especially the student movement. 
  2. Student Basij members are the governments ideological reserve for assuming important roles within the system in the future 
  3. Student Basij is officially under the command of IRGC

Having said that, we realized the Student Basij members are more likely to consider immigrating or studying abroad. Therefore we have started collecting evidence and data on the active members of Student Basij, and have called on people to share any information regarding the members of this organization with Spreading Justice. 

We have compiled the collected data and information, including names of current and former active Student Basij members, especially those that are actively serving the ruling ideology and confronting student movements. We have made the decision to not share this information publicly given its complexity, rather we aim to share with universities and immigration offices globally, and further urge governments to deny active members of Student Basij entry visas. 


For media inquiries please contact HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson at [email protected]

At least 58 Iranian children reportedly killed since anti-regime protests began

The Guardian, 20 Nov 2022
By Deepa Parent, Ghoncheh Habibiazad, and Annie Kelly

Rights groups say children as young as eight are among the victims of the crackdown by security services since the death of Mahsa Amini

Top row: Abolfazl Adinehzadeh; Sarina Esmailzadeh; Kumar Daroftadeh. Bottom row: Asra Panahi; Kian Pirfalak; Nika Shakarami.
Top row: Abolfazl Adinehzadeh; Sarina Esmailzadeh; Kumar Daroftadeh. Bottom row: Asra Panahi; Kian Pirfalak; Nika Shakarami

At least 58 children, some reportedly as young as eight, have been killed in Iran since anti-regime protests broke out in the country two months ago.

According to Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), 46 boys and 12 girls under 18 have been killed since the protests began on 16 September, sparked by the death of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody.

In the past week alone, five children were reportedly killed by security forces as violence continued across the country.

Those who died last week include the nine-year-old Kian Pirfalak, who was one of seven people – including a 13-year-old child – killed in the western city of Izeh on Wednesday.

Speaking at Kian’s funeral on Friday, his family said security services had opened fire on the family car, where Kian was sitting next to his father. Iranian security services have denied responsibility for his death, blaming the shooting on “terrorists”.

Iran’s mounting child death toll comes amid escalating violence in cities across the country, with protests showing no sign of abating.

Families in Iran spoke exclusively to the Observer about the death of their children, who they say were killed by government forces.

Hassan Daroftadeh said his son Kumar had always told his family he would grow up to be a “great man”. Instead, they said, Kumar has become a martyr after dying on the streets of his home town of Piranshahr in west Iran on 30 October. His father said he died after being shot multiple times with metal pellets at close range.

“Kumar was just standing on the street. He didn’t even say a word. I don’t know with what conscience they martyred him. Piranshahr is a small town. There were no protests that night, yet they martyred my son. He was just a little boy,’’ said Daroftadeh. A video of Daroftadeh weeping by his son’s grave went viral on social media.

“I’m shattered. Kumar was his mother’s lifeline,” he said. “The Iranian regime denies killing him. They later said ‘foreigners’ have killed him. I don’t know how the officer who killed my son hugs his own children. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.”

The same afternoon, a month before Kumar’s death – which human rights groups have since called “Bloody Friday” after 93 people were killed across Iran – Mohammad Eghbal, 17, was on his way to Friday prayers when he was shot in the back by a sniper in Zahedan, the capital of the Sistan and Baluchistan province. According to Amnesty International, 10 children were killed in Zahedan that day.

Mohammad Eghbal had worked as a construction worker from the age of nine to support his large family and had dreamed of saving up enough money to buy a smartphone so he could open an Instagram account.

His last words were to a stranger, according to one of his relatives. “He asked a bystander, ‘Please take my cellphone from my pocket and call my dad. Tell him I’ve been shot.’” The relative added that when they arrived at the hospital to look for him, the family found a “war zone”.

“Dead bodies were lying across the floor with the screams and cries of mothers filling the air,” the relative said.

The family member said that after his death, the teenager was labelled a terrorist in pro-regime media outlets. “They said Mohammad was a separatist. He was only a child, he had no idea about what being a separatist means. His father is even feeling worse than his mother. Mohammad used to sleep beside his dad at night.”

According to the human rights group Hengaw, 12 children have died in the Kurdistan province since the beginning of the protests – and three died in the custody of Iranian special forces. An additional 200 Kurdish teenagers have been arrested and 300 injured after being fired on by government forces.

A week after Mohammad Eghbal died, the 17-year-old Abolfazl Adinehzadeh went into the streets of his home town of Mashhad and never came home.

“We buried Abolfazl with more than 50 shotgun pellets still inside his body,” said a family member. “The medical team could only remove 27. We fear for his mother and sisters who are broken and will never be able to come to terms with his death.”

His family said the teenager had been motivated to take to the streets out of love for his three sisters. “Abolfazl was a well-mannered kid and, having been raised with three sisters, he was well aware of the challenges Iranian women face. He was truly a feminist who wanted equal rights for men and women,” one of his relatives told the Observer.

“As soon as his sisters heard of the news [that he had been shot], they ran towards the street screaming his name. The entire family is inconsolable. He was adored by us all.”

Young people have been at the forefront of anti-regime protests, which started after Mahsa Amini died in the custody of Iran’s morality police. She had been arrested for not wearing her hijab correctly.

The deaths of two teenage girls, Nika Shakamari and Sarina Esmailzadeh, both allegedly beaten to death by security forces for protesting, provoked further outrage.

Videos of schoolgirls across the country protesting against their killing by removing their hijabs and taking down pictures of Iran’s supreme leaders went viral on social media, leading to raids on schools where children were beaten and detained. According to Iran’s teachers union, another 16-year-old girl, Asra Panahi, died after she was attacked by security forces in her classroom in the north-western town of Ardabil on 18 October.

The attacks on children in schools is continuing, according to Hengaw, which said a 16-year-old girl from Kurdistan is on life support after throwing herself from a school van, having been arrested at her school last week.

HRA says more than 38o protesters have been killed since the protests began and more than 16,000 people have been detained, including children. The figure is disputed by the authorities.

HRA urges Tippmann Sports LLC to Condemn the Iranian government’s use of its equipment in the repression of protests

HRA urges Tippmann Sports LLC to Condemn the Iranian government’s use of its equipment in the repression of protests

ATTN: Tippmann Sports
4230 Lake Ave
Fort Wayne, IN 46815
United states

Human Rights Activists (HRA), a U.S. based non-governmental organization that monitors and reports on human rights violations inside Iran. HRA writes to inform Tippmann Sports LLC that  based on the information we have received and other existing evidence, its manufactured paintball equipment (specifically the Model 98 Paintball Gun) has been widely used by the security forces in the repression of unarmed protestors in Iran.

In the last month, the Iranian people have come to the streets to demand their human and democratic rights. In return, the security forces of the Islamic Republic have violently suppressed unarmed protestors. Hundreds have been killed, many more injured, and tens of thousands have been arbitrarily arrested. HRA has reported serious violations of human rights by the security forces of the Islamic Republic, including by FARAJA special units, against unarmed protestors. The acts documented by HRA and others include the killing, including by indiscriminate shooting, injuring, and arbitrary arrest of civilians, including minors. 

Iran is under severe economic sanctions by the United States and other democracy-supporting countries. While we are not aware, nor do we claim any malice on the part of Tippmann Sports LLC, and further, have found no evidence that supports claims that the Iranian government has obtained this weapon directly from the manufacturer, it saddens us to see that your equipment, which is designed for games and sports, has been deployed in such a fashion. 

HRA urges Tippmann Sports LLC to publicly and strongly condemn the Iranian government’s use of its equipment in the repression of protests, and with this position, stand by the people who are fighting for democracy and human rights in their country. In addition, we request that it considers implementing measures in its future contractual sales that would prevent the sale of this equipment to repressive regimes, namely the Islamic Republic. 

Keyvan Rafiee
Director
Human Rights Activists (in Iran)

Iran Protests Weapons Analysis: Officials fail to use non-violent means before resorting to the use of force or firearms

Iran Protests Weapons Analysis

Iranian officials fail to use non-violent means before resorting to the use of force or firearms

SPREADING JUSTICE– As nationwide protests continue across Iran, Spreading Justice continues to monitor the use of violence namely lethal force against protestors. Despite the claims of authorities, there is concrete evidence pointing to the the use of excessive and lethal force against protestors.

The presence of the FARAJA force is prominent; indeed, these special units are much more visible in the current unrest than in previous instances. In addition to the FARAJA, the Imam Ali Security Battalions, affiliated with the Basij Forces, under the command of the IRGC ground forces are playing a key role in the suppression of unarmed protestors.

Spreading Justice has collected evidence which shows the use of lethal weapons by the above forces. In addition to anti-riot equipment such as tear gas, pepper spray, shockers, and batons, the repressive forces have used a variety of prohibited weapons against civilians. The report released today documents a series of reports analyzed by Spreading Justice pointing to the overwhelming conclusion that there has been an ongoing use of lethal weapons against protestors.

Paintball Guns

The paintball gun, which can be bought and sold in the market, is designed as a weapon for playing or using in sport clubs. This gun, which is mainly made of aluminum, works with various gases, including CO2 gas, compressed air, or nitrogen.

The caliber of this weapon is 0.68, it has a range of approximately 45 meters, and it can hold up to 200 bullets per load and operate semi-automatically.

Paintball guns are not considered lethal weapons in general, however their use by law enforcement against protesters specially targeting of their face and upper body is prohibited. Several reports have been submitted to Spreading Justice, showing that FARAJA units use this weapon to target the faces of protesters, which in some cases have caused injury, especially to the eye. Spreading Justice has documented the dangerous use of this weapon in various cities including Tehran, Mashhad, Rasht, Karaj and Sanandaj.

Shotguns

A shotgun is a type of gun that has a groove-less barrel and fires many spherical pallets at the target in each shot. This type of gun is usually used in hunting and sports and sometimes in war and for police forces. Shotguns range usually does not exceed 100 meters. Most two-barrel guns fall under this division of firearms. A shotgun cartridge usually has a cardboard or plastic casing called shotshell, and its size is expressed by a number that is sometimes called caliber in Farsi, analogously to bullet guns.

Shotguns usually exist in the form of long barreled or waist guns, but evidence found so far indicates that the only ones used in facing protesters are long-barreled types.

Shotguns have been systematically used in various cities by plain clothes or uniformed forces against protestors in recent protests, despite being prohibited and potentially its use being considered unlawful. OHCHR indicates that use of projectile weapons is unlawful under certain circumstances. The use of shotguns in recent protests against the protesters fails at least 3 of the requirements for the use of this weapon, in addition to having been used on unarmed peaceful protestors, shot guns have been used unlawfully because (1) multiple pallets were fired at the same time which means it cannot comply with the principles of necessity and proportionality. (2) in some cases, were used in a very short distance, (3) they were targeted at the face and neck of protestors.

According to the documents collected by the Spreading Justice, most of the shells used in the recent protests were 12mm pallets, which usually hold 9 bullets and can be deadly if used at less than 40 meters.

After studying the forensic documents and speaking to eyewitnesses, Spreading Justice confirms that the FARAJA forces used a shotgun was the weapon used to kill Mohammad-Javad Zahedi in the city of Sari.

Spreading Justice has talked to at least three doctors who have treated the injured in recent incidents. According to the testimony of these doctors, more than 80 patients were wounded by pallets from shotguns. It should be noted that this large number is based on the testimony of only three doctors in the cities of Tehran, Rasht and Karaj.

According to testimonies and reliable video documentation, the pallets did not only hit the lower body of the protestors, but they were found in various parts of the body including the face and torso. This shows that contrary to the statements of law enforcement officials, the forces present at the scene have used this weapon, which can be deadly, by firing indiscriminately at the protesters.

In addition to unbranded ammunition, Spreading Justice has analyzed pictures of used shotshells, which belong to the Maham company. Maham is a subsidiary of Iran’s Ministry of Defense.

Assault rifles

Based on reports received by Spreading Justice, the weapons of war used to suppress protestors were mainly one of the below:

  1. Kalashnikova
  2. Heckler & Koch G3
  3. Steyr HS .50

Spreading Justice has received information on the use of Styr HS .50, however has not been able to confirm its use and is in the process of examining and monitoring for additional evidence on the use of this weapon, therefore the details of use of this weapon is not discussed in this report and will be discussed in the future reports.

Kalashnikova (known as: Kalash or AK-47) is an assault rifle that operates with gas and is chambered for 7.62 x 39mm cartridge. The effective firing range for an AK-47 is between 300 to 400m and its maximum range is 2000m. The standard magazine capacities of this weapon are 30 or 75 rounds drum.

Another weapon that falls under this category is Heckler & Koch G3. This weapon has caliber of 7.62 and 51mm bullets. Its effective firing range is 200 to 400m and its standard magazine capacity is 30 as well as up to 100 round drum magazines.

Although these weapons are being used less than in previous instances, they were most documented in the massacre of Zahedan that came to be known as bloody Friday of Zahedan, and the use of Kalashnikova in the deadly attacks on Sanandaj.

 According to the opinion of the doctors consulted by Spreading Justice, the effects of this weapon can be seen on the bodies of some victims, including Omid Sarani and Matin Ghanbarzehi.

As mentioned, the death of about 90 Baloch protesters in the event of Black Friday in Zahedan are considered the most concrete evidence of the use of these weapons against the protesters.

Considering the extent of protests in 114 cities and 79 universities, Spreading Justice cannot consider the use of these weapons as dominant way of suppressing the protestors in recent protests.

Handguns

There are many types of handguns, but according to Spreading Justice in consultation with experts, the most common type available to the FARAJA forces is the German Sig Sauer, which is known as Zoaf in Iran.

This 9mm semi-automatic weapon is armed with direct gas pressure and its barrel is air-cooled. This weapon is used in short distances and its magazine usually holds 8 bullets.

There are reports of the use of revolvers and various Glock or Beretta by the security and military forces, however Spreading Justice has not been able to independently confirm their use in the recent protests, we continue to monitor and examine evidence and will update our future reports on the use of these lethal weapons in our future reports.

By examining the available evidence, Spreading Justice can confirm that this lethal weapon has been used by FARAJA uniformed officers in at least four locations in Zahedan, Karaj, Rasht, and Tehran.

However, from Spreading Justice examination of reports and evidence it is apparent that the use of handguns has not been in a systematic manner.

Spreading Justice continues its investigation and evidence gathering related to the use of weapons to suppress protestors. Official claims that the forces at the scene were not equipped with lethal weapons is false. Spreading Justice will continue its monitoring of the deployment of lethal force against protestors by FARAJA and other forces.  

For media inquiries please contact HRA Senior Advocacy Coordinator Skylar Thompson at [email protected]

Human Rights Activists and the Atlantic Council’s joint panel on Iran human rights

“A surge in Crackdowns Across Iran” Panel Discussion was held yesterday, 27 September 2022 in person at Atlantic council building in Washington DC. The panel discussion that was hosted jointly by Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) and Atlantic council was also broadcasted online through various channels.

The discussion Moderated by Holly Darges from Atlantic council’s Iran Source included diverse speakers and panelists from US Department of States, Atlantic Council, Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Baha’is of the United States, and Human rights Activists in Iran (HRA).

William F. Wechsler the senior Director of Rafik Hariri Center & Middle East programs of Atlantic Council started the seminar by welcoming the guests. He also mentioned that the initial objective of the event at the early stages of planning has been “to call attention to dynamic that was happening inside Iran that was not getting as much attention and now, of course, the world is watching”, then he continues to remind us that Iran threatens neighbors in the region and in the rest of the world however “the first people that it threatens and the first victims are the people in Iran itself.” After setting the tone for the panel discussion ahead, Wechsler introduces the Keynote speaker Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iraq, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Press, and public diplomacy of US Department of State, Jennifer Gavito.

“The government of Iran has denied Iranians their human rights including through severe restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression. For decades political decent has been met with violent repression from the Iranian regime”, Das Gavito expressed concerns for the human right situation in Iran.

Das Gavito mentions the recent violent crackdown on peaceful protestors following the Mahsa Amini’s Death and the increased pressure on Iranian women by the Morality Police. Then she speaks of brave women who fight for their fundamental rights and continues to say, “The protests that we are seeing throughout Iran in spite of the government retaliation and attempts to obfuscate reality show very clearly that the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic of Iran do not see eye to eye”.

“The United States strongly supports the human rights of all Iranian women including the right to peacefully assemble and to express themselves without fear of violence” DAS Gavito then emphasizes that Iran’s human rights abuses is not limited to suppression women’s rights and peaceful assembly, rather Iran has a large number of political prisoners. She mentions the violation of rights of religious minorities by Iranian Government who have been targeted for their beliefs as well. DAS Gavito promised the people of Iran that the American government will hold the violators of human rights accountable. As an example, she pointed to the recent sanction of the moral security police and high-rank officials and said that the actions of the American government will not be limited to these cases and sanctions.

After DAS Gavito, Holly Darges, as the Moderator, gave a general explanation about the panel process and the general description of the events of the recent protests in Iran, and noted that the suppression of protests and the human rights situation in Iran is at a very critical stage. Darges then introduces all the panelists and starts the panel by Yeganeh Rezaian.

Yeganeh Rezaian, Journalist and Senior Researcher at the committee to protect Journalists (CPJ) spoke about her experience of encountering the Morality police as a woman who lived in Iran and her arrest and transfers to the same detention center where Mahsa Amini had been taken to. She continues by reminding that many women in Iran have a similar experience and are repeatedly detained for their choice of clothing. She also pointed to the courage of the new generation in Iran and said that the new generation is fundamentally different from its previous generations and does not bow down to the police and the ruling class.

Ms. Rezaian, who as a journalist has a history of being imprisoned in Iran, emphasized the importance of keeping track of arrests and the role of journalists, by saying Journalists working in international media have many restrictions on traveling to Iran, preparing documents and news reports, and that is why they usually only refer to the reports prepared by journalists inside Iran – despite the many restrictions. This is in a situation where the arrest of Iranian journalists and the pressure on them has increased dramatically in recent days, and this issue has made providing information more challenging than before.

Furthermore, she raised concern about increasing arrests of journalists even local journalists in very small towns, she claimed at least half of journalists arrested in recent days have been women and asked the international community to increase the pressure on Iran for the suppression and arrests of journalists in Iran.

Senior Advocacy Coordinator at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), Skylar Thompson, started her remarks by reporting on the alarming situation of women and human rights in Iran. While presenting a heat map of current protests, Thompson highlights that just in the first 10 days of protests, “protests are spanning 93 cities at least there are in 30 of 31 provinces, they are in 18 universities” she then continues by saying that these protests are not just in urban streets of Tehran, but they are spawning geographically, class, gender, and age wise.

Skylar Thompson presented statistics on the repression of protesters in recent days in Iran, stating according to HRA’s documentation received to this point the youngest person killed was a 16-year-old boy, and she added, A 10-year-old girl was also targeted in these protests. she was shot by the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but fortunately she survived, although she is in critical condition.

According to Thompson, the senior advocacy coordinator at HRA the situation of human rights has exacerbated during Raisi’s term. She mentioned the upward trends in executions, the return of public executions after two years, and the execution of minor offenders. She also mentioned the surge in inhumane retaliation sentences such as amputation of hands and blinding of eyes.

Mrs. Thompson further pointed to the actions that the international community is obliged to take, such as sanctioning the officials behind suppression, as well as sanctioning institutions that violate women’s rights in Iran, and said: “The fact that the American and Canadian governments have imposed sanctions on the Morality Police and some officials is a positive step, but we do not know who the Canadian government has specifically sanctioned. On the other hand, the silence of countries like England is questionable, and we still do not know the result of the decision and possible actions of the European Union.

In addition, in answer to a question raised by the audience, Mrs. Thompson addressed the difficult livelihood situation of workers and teachers in Iran. She pointed out that teachers had organized many protest rallies in recent months, which led to the arrest of more than 150 teachers’ union activists.

Senior Researcher MENA region at Article 19, Mahsa Alimardani, raised concerns regarding free flow of information due to the internet disruption and blocking of many online services in Iran during recent protests.

Alimardani, as an expert in the field of technology and communication, discussed the challenges of communication in Iran in the last eleven days and that the Islamic Republic has used new methods to limit access to the Internet. She discussed the difference between the communication restrictions in recent events and what happened in November 2019 and explained that even though this time the internet was not cut off completely like in November 2019 and some Iranians have been able to use the internet in recent days. She added that the disruptions are more strategic than before and at hours that protests usually increase after 4pm, outages and other disruptions increase.

Alimardani Also spoke about Satellite Internet (Namely Starlink) and called the lifting of U.S. sanctions in this regard a positive step. She also warned of the vast disinformation in this regard and even malwares and unsafe apps that have claimed by their downloads users in Iran can connect to Starlink.

Despite the existing challenges, Alimardani expressed hope about the possibility of using satellite internet but also warned that the excessive attention to Starlink in recent days has been a bit misleading and has caused attention to be taken away from the actions that can be taken, such as providing safe and secure VPNs for users in Iran.

Anthony Vance, director of public affairs of the Baha’is of the United States, was another speaker at the meeting who addressed the problems of the Baha’is in Iran and said that the pressure on the Baha’is of Iran has increased systematically in the government of Ibrahim Raisi, especially since June. Depriving Baha’is of education, destroying their homes and spreading hatred against the Baha’i community are only a few examples of the oppression that Vance mentioned.

At the end of the joint meeting of the group of human rights activists in Iran and the Atlantic Council, the Panelists Answered questions submitted by the audience.

Watch the full Event online

Sept 27, 1:30 ET: A surge in crackdowns across Iran – Atlantic Council

A conversation surrounding the increasingly grim human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

TUE, SEPTEMBER 27, 2022 • 1:30 PM ET
1030 15TH STREET, NW
12TH FLOOR
WASHINGTON, DC 20005

The Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative and Human Rights Activists’ (in Iran) invite you to a timely discussion on Tuesday, September 27, at 1:30PM ET about the surge in crackdowns across Iran in recent months.

Just over a year into Ebrahim Raisi’s presidency, the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic stands grimmer than any time in recent years. In June, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a crackdown similar to the early 1980s—a horrific nod to a time of unparalleled brutality.

At the same time, observers noted a resumption of public executions, the first in over two years, an uptick in the egregious persecution of religious minorities, namely the Baha’i, extreme pressure against women’s rights activists, and an unprecedented tightening of the Internet. This rise in repression is coupled with the ongoing spread of daily protests and demonstrations met with often violent repression by security forces.

This discussion will be held both in-person and via Zoom. The event is open to press and on-the-record.

Introduction

William F. Wechsler
Senior Director, Rafik Hariri Center & Middle East programs
Atlantic Council

Keynote remarks

Jennifer Gavito
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iraq, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Press and Public Diplomacy
US Department of State

A conversation with

Mahsa Alimardani
Senior Researcher MENA Region
ARTICLE19

Yeganeh Rezaian
Journalist and Senior Researcher
Committee to Protect Journalists

Skylar Thompson
Senior Advocacy Coordinator
Human Rights Activists (in Iran)

Anthony Vance
Director of Public Affairs
Baha’is of the United States

Moderated by

Holly Darges
Nonresident Senior Fellow and Editor of IranSource
Atlantic Council

Watch Live

Involved in the violent suppression of protesters

The Following were involved in the violent suppression of protester on 26 November 2021

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