NEW YORK — Iran has escalated its crackdown on protests, to prevent public commemoration of Jina Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody last year, UN independent human rights experts warned on Tuesday.
Protests erupted throughout the country on Saturday marking the one-year anniversary of the 22-year-old Iranian woman’s death after she was detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her headscarf properly.
Iranian authorities briefly detained Amini’s father on Saturday and beefed-up security nationwide to deter protesters from taking to the streets.
“Iranian authorities must end their crackdown against those who participated in the protests against Jina Mahsa Amini’s death and deliver justice and accountability for grave violations committed during the 2022 protests,” the UN experts said.
Her death sparked nationwide demonstrations and unrest, and authorities responded with a brutal crackdown, reportedly arresting thousands and executing at least seven people in connection with the protests.
In the lead up to the anniversary of Amini’s death, the UN experts received reports that authorities had detained the young woman’s father and warned him against marking the first anniversary of his daughter’s death before releasing him.
The experts said security forces surrounded her family home on Sept. 16, preventing family members from leaving to attend a graveside memorial event.
“Iran must account for the death of Jina Mahsa Amini in police custody last year and end its crackdown on protests sparked by her demise,” the experts said.
“After months of brutally repressing demonstrations over the course of the past year, authorities have imposed restrictions and threatened reprisals against public commemorations,” they said.
According to the Human Rights Council-appointed experts, a 28-year-old man was shot by security forces on Sept. 16 near the city of Saqqez, in Iran’s western Kurdish region near the cemetery where Amini is buried. His condition remains critical.
Iranian State media also announced the arrest of more than 260 individuals across the country over the weekend in connection with the protests.
According to the independent experts, Iranian authorities have put new laws and practices in place to repress women and girls.
But they have failed to conduct an independent, impartial, and transparent investigation into the death and have consistently denied any misconduct or wrongdoing.
“We remain concerned and alarmed by the ongoing policies and practices in Iran which amount to total impunity for grave crimes committed under international law in the year that followed Jina Mahsa Amini’s death,” the experts said.
The experts expressed concern that family members of individuals who were executed in connection with the protests were either summoned to court or detained by authorities for seeking justice.
They also noted a “concerning pattern” of mistreatment of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers in custody.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran could have learned important lessons from the tragic death of Jina Mahsa Amini.
“But its response to the demonstrations that have led to the deaths of hundreds of protestors since September 2022 shows that authorities have chosen not to,” the UN experts said.
UN experts are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and receive no salary for their work. — UN News