Human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Iranian government of killing 23 children, mostly with live ammunition. During Iranian security forces crackdown on anti-government protests in November.
Protests broke out across Iran from November 15, after the announcement of a surprise petrol price rise.
Iranian security forces responded with a crackdown that Amnesty said left 304 people dead, a figure vehemently disputed by Tehran.
Amnesty said in its new report it had evidence that at least 23 children were killed. 22 of them by the security forces “unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders.”
The children killed included 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12.
“There must be independent and impartial investigations into these killings and those suspected of ordering and carrying them out must be prosecuted in fair trials,” said Philip Luther. Luther is Amnesty’s research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Iranian security forces will quash dissents at any cost
Twelve of the 23 deaths – recorded in 13 cities in six provinces across the country on November 16th. Eight, on November 17th and three on November 18th, according to Amnesty.
“The fact that the vast majority of the children’s deaths took place over just two days is further evidence that Iranian security forces went on a killing spree to quash dissent above all at any cost,” Luther said.
Amnesty International said it had written to Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli with the names of the 23 children killed. Amnesty International said it received no response.
It also said relatives of some of the children killed described being subjected to harassment and intimidation. Including surveillance and interrogations by intelligence and security officials.
It said this corresponded with a broad pattern of families of those killed in protests. Furthermore families were being intimidated by the state to prevent them from talking openly about the deaths.
“Families of children killed during the protests are facing a ruthless campaign of harassment. Being intimidate from speaking out,” Luther said, denouncing a “state cover-up”.
Amnesty’s report was based on evidence from videos and photographs. As well as death and burial certificates, accounts from witnesses and victims.’ Also relatives as well as information gathered from human rights activists and journalists.
In one child’s case, there were conflicting reports on the cause of death. Even more with one source referring to fatal head injuries sustained by beatings from security forces. Furthermore another referring to the firing of metal pellets at the victim’s face from a close distance.