Six months after the protests, Amnesty International released details of the deaths of protesters killed by Iran’s security forces during last November’s ruthless crackdown on May 20, 2020, and published a report concluding that: “The security forces’ use of lethal force against those killed was unlawful.”
Amnesty International released a document publishing the details of the 304 people killed by paramilitary forces of the Velayat-e Faqih’s dictatorship during the nationwide protests in November 2019. Given the gravity of the human rights violations Amnesty International also called on the UN Human Rights Council to mandate an inquiry into the killings.
Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said: “We reiterate our call to members of the UN Human Rights Council to mandate an inquiry into the killings, and identify pathways for truth, justice and reparations.”
Overview of November’s nationwide protests
While the Iranian people were breaking under the burden of poverty and inflation, they suddenly had to face a threefold increase in gasoline prices. Without informing the people and by Khamenei’s approval, Rouhani triggered the people’s explosive anger by announcing the increase of gasoline prices a few hours before midnight on Thursday, November 14, 2019. Protests started in the morning of November 15, 2019.
Thousands of oppressed people from every village and province came to the streets in a very short period of time, expressing their anger and disgust towards the injustice they had to face.
Hamed Kashani told the Ofogh TV on November 19: “In my opinion, what has happened during these days is like an atomic bomb.”
The pace, power and flashing invasion of the army of the hungry and the severity of the destruction on Khamenei were so high that the government’s symbols of repression and plunder, including banks, IRGC and Basij-affiliated shops, and military and law enforcement centers in more than 200 cities, burst into flames.
In a report from the first two days of the nationwide protests, the IRGC wrote: “The level of destruction has been wider and more fatal than the protests of December 2017. So far, about 1,000 people have been arrested and more than 100 banks and 57 stores were set on fire in just one province.” (Fars News Agency, November 17, 2020)
Khamenei’s shoot-to-kill Policy
On November 17, Khamenei came on the scene to order the massacre of the people and called for a “decisive action” to stop the unrest. Other government officials later backed Khamenei’s order to “suppress a small number of rebels”. Thus, a huge wave of killings began with the Internet shutdown.
In support of Khamenei’s assassination order, the Velayat-e Faqih’s Majles-e Khobregan (Council of Experts) wrote in a statement: “Majles-e Khobregan calls on security services and the judiciary to identify, and severely deal with those in charge and involved in the unrest.”
Amnesty International’s six months research of massacre in crackdown on November
After six months, Amnesty International published a report on May 20, 2020, about the details of hundreds of protesters killed in the November Uprising 2019.
The report states: “This document contains the details of 304 men, women and children documented by Amnesty International as having been killed by Iran’s security forces during their crackdown on mass protests that erupted across Iran between 15 and 19 November 2019. (…) Over the past six months, Amnesty International gathered evidence from videos and photographs, as well as death and burial certificates, accounts from eyewitnesses and victims’ relatives, friends and acquaintances on the ground, and information collected by human rights activists and journalists.”
Ruthless and illegal killing spree
New and extensive research has again concluded that the security forces’ use of lethal force against the vast majority of those killed was unlawful. According to research, including video analysis, conducted by Amnesty International, there is no evidence that people were in possession of firearms or that they posed an imminent threat to life that would have warranted the use of lethal force.
Philip Luther said: “The fact that so many people were shot while posing no threat whatsoever shows the sheer ruthlessness of the security forces.”
23 children registered along victims
“Iranian security forces killed the victims in 37 cities in eight provinces across the country, reflecting the widespread nature of the crackdown. The poverty-stricken suburbs around Tehran saw the most killings, with at least 163 deaths recorded. The minority-populated provinces of Khuzestan and Kermanshah, with 57 and 30 deaths respectively, were also badly affected.
For each of the 304 deaths, Amnesty International has been able to gather credible information indicating the place, circumstances of the deaths recorded, and their exact or approximate date. The victims recorded include 10 women, 236 men and at least 23 children; the sex of the remaining 35 victims remains unknown to Amnesty International. In 239 cases, the victim’s name was identified.”
According to information gathered by Amnesty International, in all but four cases the victims were shot dead by Iranian security forces – including members of the Revolutionary Guards, paramilitary Basij forces and the police – firing live ammunition, often at the head or torso, indicating that they were shooting to kill.
Amnesty International demands officials to be held accountable
Amnesty demands statistics and the need to follow-up about the massacre:
“Six months after the killings, Iranian authorities have still not issued an official death toll. The Iranian authorities have made a series of false statements or produced propaganda videos on state TV saying most victims were killed by armed “rioters” or “suspicious agents” working for “enemies” of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Philip Luther stated: “The state’s refusal to reveal the truth about the death toll, conduct criminal investigations, and hold those responsible for ordering and carrying out these killings to account only adds to the heartache.”
Deutsche Welle, Agence France-Presse as well as Anadolou Agency covered Amnesty International’s report on May 20, 2020.
November protests and the Velayat-e Faqih’s Downfall:
Despite the family’s revelations and pursuit, as well as human rights organizations’ follow up, the criminal leaders of Velayat-e Faqih have remained silent about the number of those killed and detained. Each of them has been blaming another official to provide statistics and day by day, Khamenei sinks deeper into the pit of secrecy about the death toll and crimes that he has created.
Khamenei and Rouhani, in cooperation with other thieves and guards of the Velayat-e Faqih, said they had tripled the price of gasoline to cover the country’s budget deficit due to US sanctions, as they massacred the hungry people in November protests. However, it is clear to everyone that the other side of the coin of killing the oppressed people, is the mullahs’ plundering and theft as it has been for the past forty years.
Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a Member of Parliament from Kermanshah and member of the Majlis (Parliament) National Security Commission exposed in a parties’ rivalry just one of the cases about how the regime is plundering the deprived people: “We may have given $20-30 billion to Syria. The money of our people was spent there (…) how many economic problems do we have in the country? The increase in gasoline prices generates 2 trillion rials per day. This is the average revenue generated by the increase in gasoline prices and selling the surplus to other countries. Though the country has faced many challenges and will face more in the future.” (Emad Online website, May 20, 2020)
For the deprived people who are suffering from high costs on one hand and the criminal regime slaughtering them with the coronavirus on the other hand, there is no other solution left than to rise and overthrow the oppressive regime.