| 10 December 2023, Sunday |

Iran violations may amount to crimes against humanity, UN expert says

A U.N.-appointed expert testified before the Human Rights Council on Monday, listing instances of murder, imprisonment, forced disappearances, torture, rape, sexual abuse, and persecution as recent transgressions by the Iranian government that may constitute crimes against humanity.

Since Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian Kurdish lady, died while being held in detention last September, protests have erupted across Iran.

Addressing the Geneva-based council, Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on Iran, said he had evidence that Amini died “as a result of beatings by the state morality police”. Iran’s state coroner has said she died from pre-existing medical conditions, not blows to the head and limbs.

Rehman, an independent expert, added that the scale and gravity of crimes committed by authorities as part of the repression following her death “points to the possible commission of international crimes, notably the crimes against humanity”.

Iran’s Ambassador Ali Bahreini told the body that the allegations were imaginary and Iran was being singled out and targeted in the council. “They try to portray their imaginations as the reality of the situation in Iran,” he said.

Some 527 people were killed in the protests including 71 children, Rehman continued, including some who were beaten to death by security forces. Women and girls were targeted with shotgun fire to their faces, breasts and genitals, he added, citing Iranian doctors.

“Children released have described sexual abuses, threats of rape, floggings, administration of electric shocks and how their heads were maintained under water, how they were suspended from their arms or from scarves wrapped around their necks,” Rehman said in his speech.

He voiced outrage at the execution of at least four people linked to the protests and said that a total of 143 people had been executed since January following “grossly unfair trials”.

The 47-member council, the only body made up of governments to protect human rights worldwide, voted in November to appoint an independent investigation into Iran’s repression of protests which is currently being established. Evidence assembled by other investigations set up by the U.N. rights council has sometimes been used before international courts.

  • Reuters