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Blinding as a Weapon

Tehran Billboards Claim Protesters Shot in Eyes Are “Liars”

May 8, 2023
1 min read
Tehran Billboards Claim Protesters Shot in Eyes Are “Liars”

The Tehran Municipality has installed billboards in the city accusing the hundreds of protesters who were targeted in the eyes by security forces during nationwide protests of being "liars.”

Doctors said that at least 580 protesters had sustained severe eye injuries after being hit by pellets, tear gas canisters, paintball bullets or other projectiles in Tehran and in Kurdistan alone by the end of November 2022. The actual numbers across the country are much higher. 

The Tehran Municipality’s initiative has been met with widespread condemnation, with human rights groups calling for an investigation into the targeted shooting of protesters and for those responsible to be held accountable. 

A victim named Saman posted a video on Instagram showing his injured eye. 

"If we are liars, then what is this? How can you hide evidence? If you didn't shoot, then who did?" the victim asked.

As IranWire has reported, the widespread targeting of protesters' eyes by security forces could constitute a “crime against humanity,” as defined by Article 7 of the Rome Statute.

IranWire has explored this question more deeply in an interview with Professor Payam Akhavan, a prominent human rights lawyer, special advisor to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and a former member of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

IranWire is aware of more than 50 serious eye injuries sustained by protestors and bystanders over the past five months. With the help of independent ophthalmologists, we have reviewed the medical records of around a dozen individuals and compiled a comprehensive medical report.

In the series of reports “Blinding as a Weapon,” IranWire presents the victims’ stories told in their own words. 



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