LONDON: Iran has used “unlawful force and ruthless violence” in its repression of popular protests across the country following the death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16, according to Amnesty International.
The human rights group said its investigations into the regime’s behavior, which has left “dozens” of people dead, revealed the use of live ammunition and sexual violence against women as tools to quell dissent.
It urged the world to take action by signing its petition to establish a UN Human Rights Council investigation into the events of the past few weeks.
“We see the images of Iranian people from across the country bravely standing up to security forces, of women cutting off their hair and setting their scarves on fire,” said Amnesty’s Secretary-General Agnes Callamard.
“Dozens of people, including children, have been killed so far and hundreds injured. The voices of the courageous people of Iran desperately crying out for international support must not be ignored.”
Amini’s death in custody followed her arrest by Iran’s so-called morality police for incorrect wearing of her headscarf.
This prompted mass protests, including by women removing their headscarves and cutting their hair.
As well as live ammunition and sexual violence, birdshot, metal pellets and beatings have also been used liberally against protesters by the Iranian authorities in response, as well as mass arrests of “protesters and bystanders … journalists, political activists, lawyers and human rights defenders, including women’s rights activists and those belonging to oppressed ethnic minority groups.”
One witness in Tehran told Amnesty: “The security forces did not show mercy to anyone.” The group says it is continuing to identify more people killed in the clashes.
“Iran’s discriminatory laws, decades of repression of any form of dissent, and systemic impunity for unlawful killings during protests and behind prison walls, have triggered this unprecedented nationwide outrage,” Callamard said.
“We ask all the people of the world to sign our global petition and demand decisive action from their leaders.
“An independent investigative and accountability mechanism must be established by the UN Human Rights Council for the most serious crimes under international law committed by the Iranian authorities.
“People in Iran deserve more than empty words. The crisis of systemic impunity that has long prevailed in the country must end, and it must end now.”