Amnesty accuses Iran of 'widespread torture' during protests

Amnesty International says Iran's security forces used torture to extract confessions during last year's massive protests.

Elad Benari ,

Protest over economic hardship in Behbahan, Iran
Protest over economic hardship in Behbahan, Iran
Reuters

Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Iran's security forces of using torture to extract confessions, saying hundreds of people have been jailed since a sweeping crackdown against protests last year, AFP reports.

Massive protests erupted across Iran in November 2019 after a major petrol price hike, but they were put down by security forces with mass arrests amid a near-total internet blackout.

Amnesty International reported at the time that at least 300 people were killed in that unrest, many shot dead by security forces.

Eyewitness accounts and videos said security forces responded to the November protests by opening fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men between the ages of 19 and 26.

In its latest report, Amnesty said it had gathered dozens of testimonies from the 7,000 people it estimated were arrested, which included children as young as 10.

The accounts reveal "a catalogue of shocking human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment", the London-based human rights group said, according to AFP.

Those arrested were tortured into "confessions" of involvement in the protests, membership of opposition groups or contact with foreign governments and media, it added.

Torture and other ill-treatment by police, intelligence operatives and others "was widespread", the group said.

Amnesty said it had recorded the names of more than 500 people "subjected to unfair criminal proceedings in connection with the protests".

"Hundreds have since been sentenced to prison terms and flogging and several to the death penalty following grossly unfair trials which were presided over by biased judges behind closed doors," it added.

Prison sentences ranged from one month to 10 years, the report said.

Iran blamed the violence that broke out during the protests on "thugs" backed by its foes the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.



top