Sixteen UN-appointed independent human rights experts Friday urged Iranian authorities to prohibit indicting people with charges punishable by death for participating in peaceful protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Since Amini’s death in a Tehran hospital on September 16, protests have occurred in major cities throughout the country.
On September 13, Mahsa Amini was arrested and violently beaten in a police van in Tehran by Iran’s morality police for not complying with discriminatory compulsory veiling laws. After the arrest, within hours, she was taken to a Kasra hospital in a coma, and three days later, Mahsa was declared dead. Amini’s death in custody sparked nationwide protests in Iran. Iranian authorities responded to the protests with unlawful force, including the use of live ammunition, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds of others.
Since September 16, thousands of peaceful protesters have been arrested, including many women, children, youth and approximately 51 journalists. On September 22, Iranian authorities restricted internet access throughout the county in the wake of ongoing protests.
On October 29 the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran province charged eight people with crimes carrying the death penalty, namely “waging war against God” or “moharebeh” and “corruption on earth.” Thereafter, the Tehran prosecutor announced that around 1,000 indictments had been issued in connection with recent “riots” in the province and that public trials were scheduled for a number of people “in the coming days.”
Moreover, on November 6, 227 members of Parliament called on the judiciary to act decisively against those arrested during the protests and to carry out the death penalty punishments.
In a statement, the UN experts said:
We urge Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a tool to squash protests and reiterate our call to immediately release all protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for the sole reason of exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression, association and peaceful assembly and for their actions to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms through peaceful means.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Child Rights Committee and Amnesty International have shared their deep concerns over the human rights violations taking place in Iran amid Mahsa death. Amnesty International has documented the widespread use of lethal force by Iranian security forces against protesters, including children.