One year after Masha Amini's death: 'Iranian authorities want to avoid gatherings'

A year ago, the young Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran for wearing the veil incorrectly. His death was announced three days later, triggering a major uprising against the regime. As the anniversary of his death approaches, arrests are multiplying. The regime seems to fear a new impetus from this movement stifled in violence. Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam of the NGO Iran Human Rights fears further human rights violations by the regime.

Portrait of Masha Amini holds up during a protest in front of the Iranian embassy, in Brussels, September 23, 2022 (Illustration image). AFP - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

By: Oriane Verdier Follow


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RFI: How is the Iranian regime approaching the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death?

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam : In recent weeks, the Iranian authorities have intensified their crackdown. They summoned and threatened civil society activists, but also relatives of those killed during the protests. In Iran, it is customary to meet a year after someone's death. So the authorities want to avoid gatherings and they are very well prepared. You know, this preparation started several months ago. The number of executions has increased, it is the instrument to spread fear within society.

Can you remind us how many people have been executed in the past year?

So far in 2023, nearly 500 people have been executed and nearly 200 more have been executed in the months following the protests. So in one year, from the beginning of the protest movement until today, about 700 people have been executed, two people a day.

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You are based abroad. How do you perceive the mobilization of the international community around this movement?

We have noticed that the international community is not as eager as before to support the Iranian people. Yet the Iranian people still need help. Let us not forget that as long as this regime is in place, there will be no peace and stability in the Middle East. We are not just talking about defending human rights. They should therefore show more support for the Iranian people.

But what does it mean concretely to support the Iranian people?

For example, in recent months, Iran has executed an average of two people a day. There was no protest. Many of these people are sentenced to death for drug cases. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime cooperates with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the fight against drugs. No action has been taken to address human rights violations in Iran.

It's not something we should do once or twice a year, or when thousands of people are on the streets. You have to do it all the time. And you know, improving diplomatic relations with the regime in this situation is not acceptable.

Especially since it is possible that these accusations of drug trafficking are unfounded.

This is entirely possible because these people are arrested, tortured to confess and sentenced to death by revolutionary courts behind closed doors. They do not have access to a lawyer when they are arrested. So I do not believe that these people would have been convicted in a country where the rule of law prevails, but we must also remember that, according to international law, the death penalty should not be imposed on charges related to drug trafficking. But most of the convicts belong to very poor marginalized groups, often from ethnic minorities. Their execution did not provoke strong reactions at the international level. They are therefore the low-cost victims of the Iranian regime's killing machine. He uses it to spread fear, because the impact at the national level is the same.

" READ ALSO Iran: where is the protest, a year after the death of Mahsa Amini?

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  • Iran
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