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Amnesty Condemns Iranian Government’s Harassment of Protesters’ Families

August 21, 2023
2 min read
Amnesty International has documented and published images showing the destruction of graves belonging to more than 20 victims from 17 cities
Amnesty International has documented and published images showing the destruction of graves belonging to more than 20 victims from 17 cities

Islamic Republic authorities have escalated their campaign of harassment and intimidation against the families of the victims of 2022 nationwide protests, aiming to enforce a climate of silence and impunity, Amnesty International said in a report on Monday.

In a new report published on August 21, Amnesty International details how the Iranian authorities have been subjecting victims' families to arbitrary arrest and detention, imposing restrictions on peaceful gatherings at grave sites, and destroying victims' gravestones.

"Not a single official has been held to account for the unlawful killing of hundreds of men, women and children by security forces during the authorities’ brutal crackdown on the popular uprising that engulfed Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa/Zhina Amini on 16 September 2022," the report reads. 

The report documents the cases of 36 victims' families from 10 provinces across the country who have been subjected to human rights violations in recent months. 

They include families of 33 individuals who were killed by the security forces during the protests; families of two individuals who were arbitrarily executed in connection with the protests; and family of one torture survivor who committed suicide upon release from detention.

“The cruelty of the Iranian authorities knows no bounds. In their sinister attempt to cover up their crimes, the authorities are compounding the anguish and suffering of victims’ families by preventing them from demanding justice, truth and reparation or even planting flowers at their loved ones’ graves. As the anniversary of the uprising nears, victims’ families fear that the authorities will deploy their usual repressive tactics to bar them from holding commemorations,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The international community must support victims’ families by pressing the Iranian authorities in private and in public to respect their right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly," she added. 

Amnesty International has documented and published images showing the destruction of graves belonging to more than 20 victims from 17 cities. 

Graves have been damaged with tar, paint and arson, headstones have been broken, and phrases on gravestones describing victims as “martyr” or stating that they died for the cause of freedom have been forcibly erased, according to the report.

"The families must be protected from arbitrary detention, threats and other reprisals. States must also call on the Iranian authorities to release all those who were detained for advocating for truth and justice over the deaths, quash all unjust convictions and sentences against them, and drop all charges against those facing reprisals for speaking out," said Eltahawy. 

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