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In A Letter To Rouhani 160 Lawyers In Iran Ask For Investigation Into Protest Deaths

Blood of protesters spilled on the street in Marivan, Kurdistan province. November 2019.

In a letter to the Islamic Republic President Hassan Rouhani, 160 prominent Iranian lawyers have called for an investigation of the deadly mid-November protests in Iran and punishment of those responsible for killing protesters.

Attributing the protests to "foreign plots", as well as "ignoring the causes and the objective reasons of people’s dissatisfaction," would have no result other than recurrence of similar events in the future, the lawyers said in their open letter to Rouhani.

Insisting that the recent protests were the outcome of "indefensible outright mistakes," the lawyers have demanded from Rouhani to officially publish the number of people killed and harmed and compensate their relatives.

More than three weeks after the widespread demonstrations across Iran, the Islamic Republic authorities have not yet presented an official list or the number of people who fell victim to direct fire by the security forces.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 208 protesters lost their lives in the four-day protests triggered by an overnight three-fold increase in gasoline prices on November 15. Other sources, including the U.S. government believe hundreds and perhaps up to 1,000 were killed.

Describing footage and images of security forces attacking unarmed protesters as "worrisome", the lawyers have enquired, "Whether the regulations concerning the use of weapons had been respected? Who was in charge of the operations against the people? Who ordered to spray the protesters with bullets?"

Numerous videos circulated on social media depict the security forces unsparingly and directly shooting into crowds of protesters.

Security Forces Shot A Protestor At Point Blank Range In Gorgan
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So far, only the governor of a township near the capital city, Tehran, has claimed responsibility for ordering the security forces to shoot at the protesters who had tried to invade her office.

The letter, a copy of which has been published by a foreign-based opposition website, Kalemeh, has also called for the immediate dismissal of officials who ordered the massacre and arrested thousands of people.

Based on Radio Farda's estimate, during the four-day protests, the security forces arrested nearly 8,000 people in 21 out of 31 provinces of Iran.

In the meantime, the lawyers have offered their free legal advice to people harmed in the protests.