Iran abuses could be 'crimes against humanity': UN expert
A UN human rights expert said on Monday that Iranian authorities had committed widespread and serious violations since the death of Mahsa Amini, noting those breaches could amount to crimes against humanity.
Speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council, the body's top expert on the situation in Iran, Javaid Rehman, warned the country was experiencing the most serious violations in four decades.
"The scale and gravity of the violations committed by Iranian authorities, especially since the death of Ms Amini points to the possible commission of international crimes, notably the crimes against humanity of murder, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual violence, and persecution," he said.
Presenting his latest report to the council, Rehman said he had examined the circumstances around Amini's death in custody following her arrest six months ago for allegedly breaching Iran's strict dress code for women, and the subsequent protests.
Drawing on evidence, including eyewitness testimony and comments from reliable medical sources, the report said it was clear she had died last 16 September "as a result of beatings by the state morality police".
"I would like to stress that her death was not an isolated event but the latest in a long series of extreme violence against women and girls committed by the Iranian authorities," Rehman said.
He insisted that "the responsibility of top senior officials in instigating this violence can... not be ignored".
Children beaten to death
The UN rights council decided last November – over protests from Beijing and Tehran itself – to launch a fact-finding mission into the repression of peaceful demonstrators after protests erupted around Iran.
"Protesters including children were beaten to death," Rehman said, adding that "at least 527 people, including 71 children were killed, and hundreds of protesters severely injured".
He also said dozens of protesters "have lost their eyes because of direct shots to the head", while Iranian doctors had reported that women and girls participating in the demonstrations "were targeted with shotgun fire to their faces, breasts and genitals".
Rehman highlighted mass arrests, including of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers and students, as well as reports of torture and ill-treatment of those involved in the protests.
"Children released have described sexual abuses, threats of rape, floggings, administration of electric shocks and how their heads were maintained under water, how they were suspended from their arms or from scarves wrapped around their necks," he said.
Rehman voiced outrage at the executions of at least four people associated with the protests "after arbitrary, summary, and sham trials marred by torture allegations".
"These summary executions are the symbols of a state ready to use all means to instil fear and quash protests," he warned, pointing out that at least 17 other protesters have so far been sentenced to death while more than 100 others face charges that carry the death penalty.