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Politics

“The People’s Voice Is God’s Voice,” Iranian Rights Lawyers Tell Clerical Leaders

November 3, 2022
2 min read
Human Rights Watch says the Islamic Republic’s “vicious security apparatus is using every tactic in its book…to crush widespread dissent.”
Human Rights Watch says the Islamic Republic’s “vicious security apparatus is using every tactic in its book…to crush widespread dissent.”

An international human rights organization has warned that Iran’s authorities have “escalated their assault against widespread dissent,” as dozens of Iranian human rights lawyers signed a joint statement saying the clerical regime’s crackdown on protests will no longer work.

Weeks of nationwide demonstrations triggered by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Tehran’s morality police are posing one of the boldest challenges since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The current unrest, which human rights activists say has spread to more than 133 cities and 129 universities, as well secondary schools, has the fall of the Islamic Republic as its main demand.

Security services have unleashed a fierce crackdown on the mainly peaceful protest movement, arresting several thousand people, subjecting detainees to various forms of physical and psychological torture, and killing more than 270 other people. Dozens of security forces have also been killed, according to state media.

“Iran’s vicious security apparatus is using every tactic in its book, including lethal force against protesters, arresting and slandering human rights defenders and journalists, and sham trials to crush widespread dissent,” Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at the new York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on November 3.

“Yet every new atrocity only reinforces why Iranians are demanding fundamental changes to a corrupt autocracy.”

The previous day, 40 lawyers, some inside Iran and some outside, said that demonstrators seeking a new political order will ultimately prevail.

The Iranian government “is still drowning in illusions and believes it can repress, arrest and kill to silence,” they said in their statement, adding: "But the flood of people will ultimately remove a government because the divine will side with the people. The voice of the people is the voice of God."

The signatories of the joint statement include Saeid Dehghan, who has represented dual nationals jailed in Iran on security-related charges, and Giti Pourfazel, who was imprisoned after signing an open letter in 2019 urging Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to resign.

A network of activists inside Iran said this week that 130 human rights defenders, 38 women rights defenders, 36 political activists, 19 lawyers and 38 journalists were among those arrested in the crackdown by security forces, along with 308 university students and 44 children.

Also, the authorities have reportedly summoned, interrogated, or confiscated the passports of dozens of public figures who voiced support for the protests.

The head of Tehran province’s judiciary on October 31 said it had issued some 1,000 indictments against those arrested.

Sepehri Far called on the international community to be “particularly vigilant about the situation of those who are detained and those at risk of being sentenced to death.”

“Demanding the unconditional release and ending the sham trials of all those who have been arrested for peaceful dissent should be a key priority.”

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