At least 326 dead in Iran protests: Human rights group IHRNGO



CNN

Iranian security forces have killed at least 326 people since protests broke out across the country two months ago, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights NGO group (IHRNGO) has said.

That figure includes 43 children and 25 women, the group said in an update on its death toll on Saturday, saying its published number represented an “absolute minimum”.

CNN cannot independently verify the figure, as non-state media, the Internet and protest movements in Iran have been suppressed. The death toll varies according to opposition groups, international rights organizations and journalists covering the ongoing protests.

Iran is facing one of its largest and unprecedented displays of dissent following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman arrested by the morality police for allegedly not wearing the hijab properly.

Public anger over his death has combined with a series of grievances against the Islamic Republic’s oppressive regime to fuel the demonstrations, which continue despite lawmakers calling on the country’s judiciary to “show no leniency” to protesters.

Despite the threat of arrests and harsher punishments for those involved, Iranian celebrities and athletes have stepped forward to support anti-government protests in recent weeks.

IHRNGO has urged the international community to take “firm and timely action” in the face of the rising death toll and has reiterated the need to establish a mechanism to “hold the authorities of the Islamic Republic accountable for their serious violation of human rights” .

“The establishment of an international mechanism of investigation and accountability by the UN will facilitate the process of holding the perpetrators accountable in the future and increase the cost of continued repression by the Islamic Republic,” he said the director of the IHRNGO, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

Since the start of the protests, deaths have been reported in 22 provinces, according to the IHRNGO. Most were reported in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan, Tehran, Mazandaran, Kurdistan and Gilan.

Iranian authorities have also charged at least 1,000 people in Tehran province for their alleged involvement in the protests.

The rights group said dozens of protesters face “security-related charges” and are at risk of execution.

On Friday, UN experts urged the Iranian authorities “to stop charging people with death charges for participation, or alleged participation, in peaceful demonstrations” and “to stop using the death penalty as a tool to crush protests”.

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