News : Human rights
- Published: Wednesday, 20 May 2020
The Iranian authorities are pressuring those who lost relatives during the regime’s crackdown on the November 2019 uprising over fuel price rises to accept money and “martyrdom”, rather than have a full investigation into the deaths, according to a London-based human rights organization.
In a May 16 report, entitled “Mockery of Justice: State’s Policies and Laws Regarding the Victims of Iran’s 2019 November Protests”, Justice for Iran reported that the Iranian authorities have refused to carry out judicial investigations into the deaths of the 1,500 protesters and civilians or prosecute those responsible, believing that blood money will buy off the Iranian people.
In the report, Justice for Iran collected, geo-located, analyzed, and corroborated more than 1,200 publicly available videos to conclude that “in less than 5 days, in 39 cities, across 15 provinces of Iran, the state armed forces used potentially lethal means (including live ammunition and metal plates) and killed hundreds of people”.
The group further noted that, according to the official policy, approved by supreme leader Ali Khamenei, the regime divided the victims into three categories - bystanders, protestors, and armed rioters - in order to treat the families differently.
- “Bystanders” were to be recognized as martyrs, with their families given blood money, monthly wages and other benefits from the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs
- “Protesters’” families would only receive blood money
- “Armed rioters’” families would be given nothing but, if authorities found the relatives to be “decent and respectful”, they could console them somehow
The regime also distorted the facts through two false narratives:
- protestors killed some of the victims
- state forces only used deadly force if they felt that protestors were threatening the lives of others
In no cases, according to Justice for Iran, would the regime be investigating the cases or arresting perpetrators; considering all the killings as lawful. Rather there was a state-initiated campaign launched shortly after to ensure that there will be no truth or justice, with the regime intimidating and coercing families to prevent them from suing and get them to confirm the regime’s narrative. In some cases, the victims’ bodies were not released until the family legally agreed not to speak out or file a complaint.
Shadi Sadr, Co-Director of Justice for Iran, said: “Persecuting, intimidating, and buying off the families of victims, the authorities try to give the status of martyrdom to as many victims as possible. This is in line with their efforts to establish their narrative of the events, alleging that the victims were killed by suspicious elements among protestors.”
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