A series of atrocities committed by Iranian security forces during the violent crackdown on the nationwide Jin, Jiyan, Azadî (Women, Life, Freedom) protests in the Kurdish city of Javanrud have been exposed in a new investigative report by the Centre for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).
Following the death in custody of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini in mid-September last year, Iran’s Kurdish-majority cities became the focal point of a fiery wave of protests that began in Amini’s hometown of Saqqez. The people of the Kurdish-populated regions in the west of Iran, known as Rojhilat, showed unwavering resilience as they stood up to the might of the government forces.
The Iranian government’s response was to deploy military forces to these areas, including Javanrud, at which point security forces reportedly imposed a siege on the town from November 2022 to March 2023, further isolating the population.
The report, entitled ‘Massacre in Javanrud’, is based on extensive documented evidence, including photographs, videos and interviews with 38 people who were residents of Javanrud at the time of the alleged atrocities.
The report, which covers the months of October to December 2022, accuses the Islamic Republic of Iran of acts that may amount to crimes against humanity.
According to the report, security forces, including units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), unleashed a reign of terror on the Kurdish town, using military weapons against unarmed civilians. Eight people were killed, including a 16-year-old child, and at least 80 people, including children, were seriously injured.
The report details the arbitrary arrest of 89 peaceful demonstrators, including 26 children, and other acts of brutality. Protesters were reportedly denied access to medical care as security forces occupied medical centres to identify and detain protesters. Ambulances attempting to enter the city from neighbouring areas were often blocked by IRGC forces.
The report also reveals allegations of torture and sexual abuse of detainees, including children, and threats against the families of victims to keep them silent. Not a single official has been held accountable for these alleged crimes.
The report underlines that these actions not only violate Iranian law, but also international treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
The Iranian government’s refusal to allow international human rights organisations into the country makes independent investigations difficult, and individuals who cooperate with such organisations are often accused of being foreign agents.
The Iranian government’s violent response to the nationwide uprisings resulted in the deaths of more than 500 protesters, including dozens of children, thousands of injuries and more than 20,000 arrests. There have also been reports of torture and sexual abuse of detainees, including minors. Seven protesters have already been executed after what critics say were unfair trials.
Mass protests remain a possibility in Iran, as the population remains in dissent and activists continue to speak out against state abuses. Despite threats and persecution, the families continue to demand justice.
In the run-up to the anniversary of the protests, the Islamic Republic has escalated its campaign of intimidation, detaining family members of deceased protesters, imprisoning activists, targeting community leaders and intensifying persecution of minority groups and academics.