Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); September 15, 2023: A year after the state-murder of Jina (Mahsa) Amini and the start of the nationwide “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests, there has been no accountability for the hundreds of protesters killed. Iran Human Rights has verified the killing of 551 protesters including 68 children and 49 women. Additionally, at least 22 protesters including four children and eight women have died by suicide or under suspicious circumstances.
The UN established a Fact-Finding Mission in response to calls by human rights organisations including IHRNGO due to the Islamic Republic’s refusal to allow independent investigations and any means of seeking accountability.
Publishing this report, IHRNGO emphasises the importance of documenting the Islamic Republic’s crimes and calls for more effort and participation by all countries committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in holding the Islamic Republic accountable.
Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghadam said: “It’s the Iranian people’s inalienable right to protest against oppression, corruption and discrimination and to determine their own political system. The bloody suppression of the nationwide protests that led to the death of hundreds of men, women and children, was widespread, systematic and planned by authorities and amounts to crimes against humanity. All the perpetrators, from Ali Khamenei to all repressive forces, must be held accountable for their crimes.”
A year after the state-murder of Jina (Mahsa) Amini and the start of the nationwide protests, at least 551 protesters including 68 children and 49 women have been killed by state forces. Most were killed with firearms or batons. Islamic Republic authorities have done everything in their power to deny these deaths, through disinformation, to distort information about their deaths.
Documenting evidence of the Islamic Republic’s crimes and distinguishing them from disinformation is of paramount importance in advancing mechanisms for holding the perpetrators accountable. Citizen collaborations with human rights organisations is one of the pillars of documenting evidence.
Death Toll by Province
Protesters have been killed in 26 provinces, with the most reported in Sistan and Baluchistan, Tehran, Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan provinces respectively. Regardless of provincial breakdowns, the most number of protesters were killed in Kurdish and Baluch regions. The provincial breakdown is as follows:
Sistan and Baluchistan: 136 people; Tehran: 77 people; Kurdistan: 57 people; West Azerbaijan: 56 people; Mazandaran: 42 people; Alborz: 32 people; Gilan: 29 people; Kermanshah: 24 people; Isfahan: 19 people; Khuzestan: 18 people; Fars: 15 people; Khorasan-Razavi: 9 people; East Azerbaijan: 5 people; Qazvin: 5 people; Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad: 3 people; Hormozgan: 3 people; Zanjan: 3 people; Lorestan: 3 people; Markazi: 3 people; Hamedan: 2 people; Ardabil: 2 people; Ilam: 2 people; Bushehr: 2 people; Golestan: 2 people; Semnan: 1 person; North Khorasan: 1 person.
The highest number of deaths were recorded in September and November 2022 and the bloodiest days were on 30 September (Zahedan’s Bloody Friday, 104 people), 21 September 2022 (63 people), 16 November (29 people) and 22 September (20 people).
At least 22 suspicious deaths and suicides have been reported during the protests with all taking place after participating in protests or release from prison.
Partial list of 22 suspicious deaths related to protests
1. Pouya Gheisvandi, 26: from Kamyaran and arrested on 21 September 2022, his lifeless body was found at his home after being released.
2. Alireza Fili, 17: his body was found hanging at his father’s shop with his clothes torn on 21 October 2022 after security forces found images of him tearing up Khamenei’s photo at school.
3. Yalda Aghafazli Iradmousa, 19: arrested on 26 October in Tehran and detained for 10 days, she died of unknown cause days after release.
4. Reza Sharafi, 36: father of three arrested in Sisakht city in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province on 18 November 2022. He was released from prison after two days and died under suspicious circumstances hours later.
5. Hossein Zarinjouyi, 29: blogger and comedian from Lorestan who wrote in support of protests. He allegedly committed suicide in Khorramabad on 22 November 2022.
6. Arshia Emamgholizadeh Alamdari, 16: Jolfa (West Azerbaijan province) protester arrested after flicking a mullah’s turban during a nationwide campaign. He was detained for ten days and on 26 November, just two days after being released on bail, he was reported to have committed suicide.
7. Mohsen Jafarirad, 36: film director, journalist and screenwriter arrested for taking part in protests in Karaj. He reportedly committed suicide on 8 January 2023.
8. Setayesh Sharifinia, 16: died under suspicious circumstances in hospital after taking part in Kordkuy protests in Golestan province.
9. Maryam Arvin, 29: human rights lawyer from Kerman who was arrested in court while defending protesters on 30 November 2022. She was released on bail on 12 December. Two months later, on 8 February 2023, she died under suspicious circumstances.
10. Farham (Ebrahim) Nikpour, 19: Amol protester arrested and later released on bail. He died under suspicious circumstances following release on 15 February 2023.
11. Arash Forouzandeh, 32: Tehran resident who was active on social media, was arrested on 10 March 2023 and detained for hours. He died under suspicious circumstances on 19 March.
12. Maryam Salimian, 25: artist from Tehran who shared her work on social media. It was reported that she had committed suicide on 2 January 2023 after she was prevented from leaving for Austria to pursue her education.
13. Bamshad Soleimankhani, 20: elite student arrested in Abdanan in Ilam province on 24 May 2023. He died under suspicious circumstances following release from prison on 28 May.
14. Mansoureh Sogvand, 19: from Abdanan who previously served as voluntary police and had reported being threatened for attending protests. She died under suspicious circumstances on 4 June 2023.
15. Matin Naderkhani, 20: Damash Gilan FC goalkeeper who was arrested during protests. His body was found after his release from prison on 16 May 2023 with two bullets in his head.
16. Abbas Mansouri: 19: Shoush protester who was extrajudicially arrested by security forces on 16 November 2022. Days after release, he was reported to have committed suicide on 11 December.
17. Shahabedin Hashemi, 25: Alameh Tabatabai University student whose lifeless body was found hanging in the student dorms on 8 December 2022. State media reported his death as suicide but his brother stated it was “dirty and filled with lies and accusations” and called it a “suspicious killing.”
18. Ali Nazari, 21: protester from Bilvar in Kermanshah who was arrested in early December 2022 and released two weeks later. He died under suspicious circumstances a week later. While state media reported his death as a heart attack, in a video, his cousin called his death “suspicious.”
19. Mohabat Mozafari, 33: human rights lawyer who was representing protesters, was arrested at her home. She had bruises and signs of torture on her body following release from prison and died of bleeding in her sleep on 2 February 2022.
20. Mahsa Zarinchang, 32: civil activist and protester from Ilam who was arrested multiple times during the protests. Her body was found in the mountains near Tehran in March 2023. Following the discovery of her body, her family home was raided and her belongings confiscated. Her family were told to declare her cause of death as “falling from mountain during hike.”
21. Arnika Ghaem Maghami, 17: her body was found on 22 October 2022 after participating in protests. Authorities said she had died after falling from the fourth floor, while other sources stated she had been beaten to death with batons.
22. Amirhossein Terval, 20: arrested on 24 October 2022, he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment to force false confessions and faced death penalty charges. He was released on bail on 7 May 2023 and died under suspicious circumstances on 16 May. His official cause of death was reported as a heart attack.
It is important to note that the list is not exhaustive and merely a minimum. If you have any information about suspicious deaths, those killed or injured in the protests, please contact Iran Human Rights through Signal, Telegram or WhatsApp on 0061 478 494 849 or email us on [email protected].