International human rights experts appointed by the United Nations have condemned the Iranian Government for charging protesters with crimes punishable by death.
The experts say more than 300 people have already been killed during protests, including 41 children. In a statement, they have demanded the “immediate release” of all imprisoned protesters.
Iran’s recent uprising began following the death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa (Zhina) Amini after she was violently arrested by Iran’s morality police.
The morality police enforce strict cultural laws imposed by Iran’s conservative Islamic dictatorship, including a law requiring women to cover their hair.
Using the slogan ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, Iranians are demanding an end to restrictive laws. They have called for the overthrow of the Government and “death to the dictator”, in reference to Iran’s Supreme Leader.
Arrests and deaths
The UN human rights experts say “at least 304” protesters have been killed, and that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary courts are likely to hand out death sentences to arrested protesters.
The experts say the courts have a history of “grossly unfair” trials. They also accused Iran’s Parliament of a “blatant violation” of their role after 227 members of Parliamen called for protesters to be sentenced to death.
It is estimated that 15,820 protesters have been arrested, all of whom could be at risk of the death penalty.
“With the continuous repression of protests, many more indictments on charges carrying the death penalty and death sentences might soon be issued, and we fear that women and girls, who have been at the forefront of protests… might be particularly targeted.
“We urge Iranian authorities to stop using the death penalty as a tool to squash protests and reiterate our call to immediately release all protesters… [arrested for] exercising their legitimate rights to freedom of opinion and expression.”Statement by UN human rights experts