The number of children killed in the fierce crackdown by Iranian security forces on nationwide protests has reached at least 48, IranWire reports, as a Norway-based human rights organization raised the overall death toll to at least 277.
IranWire used various reliable sources to identify the children killed and publish their names, ages, and places of death. At least 18 of them were slain in Sistan-Balochistan province alone.
Madrese Rahai, a Telegram channel run by teachers' union activists, confirmed the number of students killed by security forces.
Many schoolchildren have joined the wave of protests sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Tehran’s morality police. The largely peaceful demonstrations have grown to become the biggest challenge to Iran’s regime since the 2009 protest movement.
The unrest triggered a heavy-handed crackdown in which security forces fired bullets and tear gas at protesters. Several thousand people were also brutally arrested.
Iran Human Rights said in a statement on Wednesday that at least 277 people were killed by security forces in 22 of Iran’s 31 provinces, with the most reported in Sistan and Baluchistan, Mazandaran, Tehran, Kurdistan and Gilan.
The group said the highest number of deaths were recorded on 21, 22 and 30 September. October 27 was last week’s bloodiest day with 12 recorded deaths.
Iran Human Rights cited official reports as saying dozens of protesters have been charged with the security-related charges of “enmity against god” and “corruption on earth,” which carry the death penalty.
“The Islamic Republic’s history and current evidence indicate that they intend to use the death penalty as a tool of political repression to intimidate their opposition,” the group said.
Iran has witnessed waves of anti-government protests in recent years. Hundreds of people were reportedly killed in the government’s suppression of protests triggered by gas price hikes in November 2019 – the deadliest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.