February 20, 2020
In its annual report on the situation of human rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Amnesty International (AI) says the renewed wave of mass uprisings were met with brutality and repression during ‘year of defiance.’
“In Iraq and Iran alone, the authorities’ use of lethal force led to hundreds of deaths in protests; in Lebanon police used unlawful and excessive force to disperse protests, and in Algeria, the authorities used mass arrests and prosecutions to crackdown on protesters. Across the region, governments have arrested and prosecuted activists for comments posted online, as activists turned to social media channels to express their dissent,” AI said its annual report on February 18.
Lambasting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s human rights record in the past year, AI disclosed, “Iran detained at least 240 human rights activists in 2019.”
The detainees were active in advocating the rights of the minority, women, and labor across Iran and arrested arbitrarily by the Islamic Republic’s security, judiciary, and security forces, AI noted.
Meanwhile, the report has criticized the Islamic Republic for discrimination against Iranian women, torturing prisoners and detainees, pressuring religious minorities, and executing minors.
Referring to the deadly mid-November uprising against the clergy-dominated regime in Iran, AI has revealed that according to “credible sources,” the Islamic Republic security forces killed more than 300, including minors, arrested thousands more, while many were subjected to “enforced disappearance.”
Other sources have issued much higher estimates of casualties. Reuters has reported based on confidential government sources that up to 1,500 protesters were killed in November.
Based on AI’s new report, hundreds of others were arbitrarily detained in relation to the peaceful exercise of their rights, generally on spurious national security charges.
“Torture and other ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement, remained widespread and systematic, especially during interrogations. Authorities consistently failed to investigate torture allegations and hold those responsible to account,” AI report affirmed.
Moreover, AI believes that several protesters detained during mid-November unrest in Iran lost their lives behind bars.
The latest data collected by Radio Farda shows that at least 8,000 were arrested during the four-day anti-regime protests in mid- November, and it is not yet clear how many of them were released.
In the meantime, the Islamic Republic authorities still refuse to disclose mid-November rallies’ death toll.
In its latest report, AI has also accused the Islamic Republic authorities of “ongoing crimes against humanity,” maintaining, “The authorities committed the ongoing crime against humanity of enforced disappearance by systematically concealing the fate and whereabouts of several thousand political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared during a wave of secret mass extrajudicial executions in Iran between July and September 1988. The continued suffering inflicted on victims’ families violated the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment.”