Amnesty: Iranian authorities must end harassment of victims' families

Amnesty: Iranian authorities must end harassment of victims' families
Amnesty's new report details how Iranian authorities harassed victims' families, with the use of arbitrary arrest and prison sentences to silence families.
2 min read
21 August, 2023
Amnesty International's report details 36 families across 10 provinces who were subject to human rights violations by the Iranian state [Getty]

Amnesty International has called on the Iranian government to stop mistreating the families of those killed during last year's anti-government protests.

In a report released on Monday, Amnesty detailed how 36 families located across 10 provinces in Iran had been harassed by authorities and subjected to a series of human rights violations.

The harassment included raids on family homes, arbitrary arrests, summons to interrogation, prison and flogging sentences, the denial of peaceful memorials, the destruction of graves, and threats to life.

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said of the policy: "The cruelty of the Iranian authorities knows no bounds." She described the campaign of harassment by authorities as a "sinister attempt to cover up their crimes".

Those affected by the campaign include the family of 16-year-old Kourmar Daroftadeh who was killed by security forces in Piranshahr on 29 October 2022. Her family members were arbitrarily arrested on 16 August 2023 and subjected to hours of "abusive interrogations".

Likewise, the family of 17-year-old Abolfazl Adinezadeh, who was killed by security forces in Mashhad on 8 October 2022, were also detained in a bid to prevent family from marking his birthday.

Two of Adinezadeh's uncles, who were arrested alongside the family, were threatened with being shot if they entered Farouj, the town he is buried in. His grave was also vandalised twice, before and after his birthday. The prosecutor in Farouj had threatened to bulldoze the grave if it was not removed.

Many victims have had their graves vandalised, with the grave of Mahsa Amini targeted twice. Her death in September 2022 was the initial spark for the countrywide anti-regime protests, which resulted in the deaths of over 500 people.

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With the anniversary of Amini's death approaching, Iranian authorities are increasing their crackdown on civil society and in particular students, with many facing suspension from university and even prison sentences.

Amid this chilling backdrop, families of the victims have expressed "fear that the authorities will deploy their usual repressive tactics to bar them from holding commemorations", according to Diana Eltahawy.

As well as calling for Iranian authorities to allow families to mark the anniversaries of their deaths, Eltahawy also demanded the international community "exercise universal jurisdiction" against Iranian officials suspected of committing crimes during and after the protests.