Iran is intentionally using lethal force to crack down on protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini, Amnesty International said September 30, calling for international action to prevent the killing or detention of even more people.
The London-based rights group’s warning came as another group, the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights, said 83 people, including children, had been killed in two weeks of protests that started over Amini’s death following her arrest by morality police, as Iran pressed ahead with more detentions of prominent figures.
“The Iranian authorities have mobilized their well-honed machinery of repression to ruthlessly crack down on nationwide protests in an attempt to thwart any challenge to their power,” Amnesty said.
“Without concerted collective action by the international community that goes beyond statements of condemnation, countless more people risk being killed, maimed, tortured, sexually assaulted, and thrown behind bars.”
It said its review of photos and videos showed “most victims were killed by security forces firing live ammunition.”
Amnesty said it had obtained a leaked official document issued to the commanders of armed forces in all provinces on September 21 instructing them to “severely confront” protesters labeled “troublemakers and anti-revolutionaries.”
Another leaked document showed that on September 23, the commander of the security forces in Mazandaran Province, where some of the deadliest clashes have occurred, ordered security forces to “confront mercilessly, going as far as causing deaths, any unrest by rioters and anti-revolutionaries.”
Amnesty’s warning comes as Iran presses ahead with an intensifying crackdown that has seen the arrest of many journalists, activists, and other prominent figures.
Former Iranian international footballer Hossein Manahi was arrested on September 30 for backing the protests on his social media accounts, the state run IRNA news agency said.
Security forces also arrested singer Shervin Hajipur, whose song “Baraye” (“For”) made up of tweets about the protests went viral on Instagram, according to Persian-language media based abroad.
His song, which racked up millions of views on Instagram and prompted many to comment that it moved them to tears, has now been removed from his account.
At least 29 journalists were also arrested since the start of the wave of repression, according to the Washington-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
Among them are two female reporters, Nilufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who helped expose the case of Amini to the world by reporting respectively from her hospital and her funeral.