Iranian security forces fired tear gas on Thursday to disperse demonstrators gathered in the southwestern city of Behbahan. Videos posted on social media showed Iranian protesters chanting, “Fear not, fear not, we are in this together”. Some protesters chanted slogans against the leadership. A heavy presence of security forces was reported today morning in several cities, including Tehran and Isfahan. According to Reuters, there had been several arrests in Behbahan, the Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province.
The protesters also expressed their disapproval of Iran’s foreign policies, chanting “not Gaza, not Lebanon, I give my life for Iran” in reference to Tehran’s support for Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.Iranian activists on social media have called for more protests on Friday. “We will stay on the streets until victory is won,” one poster shared on social media read.
This round of protests follows and is motivated by a viral Twitter campaign Iranians had launched on Tuesday against the Iranian judiciary’s decision to uphold the death sentences of three protesters who were arrested and sentenced to death following the protests in November 2019.Iranians in and out of Iran used a Persian-language hashtag that read “do not execute” which became a global trending topic with over four million tweets. Their execution has been suspended thanks to campaign; local media affirm today.
Internet blockage observatory “Netblocks” wrote on Twitter that it had seen some internet restrictions in place in Khuzestan province late on Thursday.Iran’s clerical rulers have tried to prevent a revival of anti-government protests that took place last November, when over 1,000 of people are believed to have been killed in the deadliest street violence since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.Iran’s interior ministry said in May that the number of those killed was 225, including security forces.
According to Gholam hossein Mohseni Ejei, the former spokesperson for the judiciary, 25 people were also killed during the protests in December 2017 and January 2018.Under international human rights law, everyone has the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly as provided under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a party.International law guarantees anyone accused of a crime access to a lawyer at all stages of criminal proceedings, including during the investigation, the pretrial proceedings, and during the trial itself.
Under Article 1 of the UN basic principles on the role of a lawyer, “All persons are entitled to call upon the assistance of a lawyer of their choice to protect and establish their rights and to defend them in all stages of criminal proceedings.” Iranian authorities should consider that under the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, law enforcement officers may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required to achieve a legitimate policing objective.
When using force, law enforcement officers should minimize damage and injury and respect and preserve human life. The deliberate use of lethal force is permissible only when it is strictly necessary to protect life.
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