As usual at the start of a new month, we are going to look back at the human rights situation in Iran, as documented by the Iran Human Rights Monitor. It will not make for easy reading and it’s really not supposed to, but it’s necessary to warn you about this before you read further.
One of the major human rights stories in Iran in February 2021 was the authorities’ crackdown on protests by Baluch fuel porters in Saravan, Sistan and Baluchistan province, that left 40 unarmed people killed and 100 wounded.
The protests began at an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) base near the Iran-Pakistan border on February 22 after the IRGC closed the border. The IRGC then opened fire on the unarmed protesters, who may have been trying to enter the building after being stuck without food or water for days at the border, unable to complete their job.
The IRGC shut down the internet in a bid to stop the news from spreading but protests continued for a week and spread across the province.
Amnesty International has since called for an independent investigation.
Then, of course, we have all the typical human rights violations that are seen far too often in Iran, including executions, torture, and discrimination against minorities.
At least 34 people were executed in Iran last month, including four political prisoners and one woman.
In a particularly bizarre turn of events, the woman – Zahra Esma’ili – had died from a heart attack in Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj on February 17, after seeing 16 others hanged, and the government hanged her dead body anyway, according to her lawyer, Omid Moradi.
Esma’ili was innocent, only taking responsibility for the murder of her abusive husband, Intelligence Ministry managing director Alireza Zamani, to save her teenage daughter from prison and a death penalty.
Regarding the political prisoners, all four Arab Ahvazis – Jasem Heidari, Ali Khosraji, Hossein Silavi, and Naser Khafajin – were executed in Sepidar prison on February 28, just minutes after their final family visit ended. The prisoners have gone on hunger strike on January 25 to protest not seeing their families and being mistreated by prison authorities.
In another case of the authorities mistreating a prisoner of conscience, Gonabadi Dervish Behnam Mahjoubi died in a Tehran hospital on February 21 after being given a large quantity on an unknown medication in Evin Prison because there wasn’t a doctor at the infirmary when he went there. He’d previously been denied appropriate medical care during his two-year sentence for peaceful protest.