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Iran covered up protest deaths, says Human Rights Watch

Posted in World

Published on November 28, 2019 with No Comments

Human Rights Watch accused Iran of “deliberately covering up” deaths and arrests during a crackdown on demonstrations this month. Protests broke out across sanctions-hit Iran on November 15, hours after a sharp fuel price hike was announced. Reports of deaths and arrests emerged as security forces were deployed to rein in demonstrations which turned violent in some areas, with dozens of banks, petrol pumps and police stations torched. Iranian officials have blamed the street violence on the intervention of “thugs” backed by royalists and Iran’s arch-enemies – the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. HRW charged that Iranian authorities were “deliberately covering up the scale of the mass crackdown against protesters” and called on them to “immediately announce the number of deaths, arrests and detentions”.

The group’s deputy Middle East director, Michael Page, criticised Iran for having so far “refused to provide an accurate death toll and instead threatened detainees with death”.

London-based Amnesty International has estimated more than 140 people were killed in the protests. Iranian officials have confirmed that five people were killed and have so far announced about 500 arrests, including of some 180 “ringleaders”. “Keeping families in the dark about the fate of their loved ones while ratcheting up an atmosphere of fear and retribution is a deliberate government strategy to stifle dissent,” Page said.

 

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