A new report released by the human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Wednesday says that following the Iranian protests in November 2019, some detainees were extensively tortured and subjected to grossly unfair trials, with officials using torture-tainted "confessions” to sentence prisoners to death.
According to the report, Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, as well as prison officials with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, collectively committed "a catalogue of shocking human rights violations" including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and other atrocities against citizens detained in connection with the nationwide protests.
The report documents the harrowing accounts of dozens of protesters, bystanders and others who were violently arrested, forcibly disappeared or held incommunicado, and then systematically denied access to their lawyers during interrogations or repeatedly tortured to “confess.”
In mid-November of last year, widespread protests erupted across the country, driven by the sudden near-tripling of fuel prices. Thousands were arrested during the protests by security forces, and according to officials, around 200 protesters were killed. The real figure of protester deaths may be much higher than the 200, that Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli implicitly admitted, with some estimates placing the number of protesters who were killed as high as 1,500.
Victims included children as young as 10, and some injured protesters and bystanders were dragged by security forces from hospitals where they had been taken to seek medical treatment.
Since then, hundreds of Iranians have been sentenced to prison terms and flogging, and several, including three young men, were given the death penalty. Many victims said they were subjected to torture in order to extract "confessions" and make the court's work easier, with their trials presided over by biased judges behind closed doors. Other citizens reported not having access to legal representation while they were in custody other than court-appointed lawyers who were only present as a formality.
“Instead of investigating allegations of enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment and other crimes against detainees, Iranian prosecutors became complicit in the campaign of repression by bringing national security charges against hundreds of people solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly," the report said.
Amnesty International has recorded the names and details of more than 500 protesters and others, including journalists and human rights defenders, who were subjected to unfair criminal proceedings in connection with the protests.