A new report by two Iranian human rights groups provides harrowing details about the atrocities committed by security forces against protesters in the predominantly western Kurdish city of Javanrud in the fall of 2022.
“Islamic Republic of Iran security forces, using military-grade weapons, intentionally shot peaceful protesters in the Kurdish city of Javanrud during the period from October to December 2022, killing eight unarmed civilians, including one child, and injuring at least 80 individuals, including children,” the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) say in the report published this week.
They say the wounded were beaten in the streets by security forces and those who tried to help the injured were shot. The wounded could not seek help at the city’s hospitals without risking arrest as “security forces were stationed at the medical centers to identify and arrest protesters.”
At least 89 people, including 26 children, were “arbitrarily arrested and detained,” and many of them were “beaten and tortured” while in custody, according to the 100-page report, titled “Massacre in Javanrud: State Atrocities Against Protesters in Iran’s Kurdish Regions.”
Relatives of those injured, killed, detained and abused were “pressured by the state to remain silent.”
The report identifies some of those responsible for the atrocities, including Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers, Intelligence Ministry agents, as well as government, police and judicial officials.
“The atrocities committed by Islamic Republic forces in the city of Javanrud, carried out with the full knowledge and direction of state officials and which involved the intentional and systematic murder, maiming, and abuse of unarmed civilians on a large scale, amount to crimes against humanity,” said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.
The protests in Javanrud were part of the monthslong nationwide anti-establishment protests sparked by the September 2022 death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
More than 500 people were killed across the country in the brutal crackdown by security forces and over 22,000 others were unlawfully detained, activists say.
Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.
Ahead of the first anniversary of the popular uprising, the Islamic Republic has “increased its repressive activities over the last month, detaining family members of slain protesters, locking up activists, targeting community leaders who have protested the state’s violence, and intensifying its persecution of minority groups,” the report noted.
With the anniversary approaching, “the potential for renewed protest in Iran—and a violent state response aimed at crushing it—is high,” Ghaemi noted, adding, “The international community must remain extraordinarily vigilant, warning the Iranian authorities of intense political and economic consequences at the first sign of state violence.”