Iran, Human Rights Watch denounces: “Police tortured and raped minors”

Iranian security forces cracking down on widespread protests across the country have killed, tortured, raped and disappeared minors, it said today Human Rights Watch. Tehran authorities – according to the report published on the HRW website – have also arrested, interrogated and prosecuted minors in violation of legal guarantees, judges have prevented families from hiring lawyers to defend them, convicted them on vague charges and tried them outside the courts having jurisdiction. Security forces detained children without notifying their families, sometimes for weeks. (WOMEN’S PROTESTS IN IRAN)

The reconstruction of the facts

“Iranian leaders have unleashed their brutal security forces to sexually assault and torture minors and have not spared them from grossly unfair trials,” said Tara Sepehri Far, Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Over the past seven months, the authorities have not hesitated to extend the coercive power of the state to silence even children.” Students released from detention have been prevented from returning to school, the authorities have cut social assistance to families, forcing children to work. Human Rights Watch investigated the abuse suffered by 11 minors between September 2022 and February 2023 and documented new details on two previously reported cases. Human Rights Watch has documented that government security forces have immobilized, blindfolded and tortured children in detention. Authorities beat and sexually assaulted a 17-year-old boy, causing him to hemorrhage, a family member said. A high school student said the security forces pushed her onto a lit gas stove during her arrest, set her clothes on fire, beat and whipped her during interrogation. Another boy had needles stuck under his fingernails. Two young men were tortured to provide the location of their family members. A 16-year-old man made two attempts to take his own life after being beaten, given electric shocks and sexually assaulted. Authorities have not provided medical attention to the boys injured by law enforcement, including a 13-year-old boy who suffered a broken rib during a beating. Authorities threatened family members to keep quiet about the abuse. In early April, Iranian rights groups recorded 537 people killed by security forces during protests that began in late August 2022 following the death of Mahsa Amini, including at least 68 minors. Human Rights Watch had previously reported the deaths of boys, including Nika Shakarami, 16, whose body was found by her family 10 days after she disappeared during protests in Tehran on September 20, and Sarina Esmailzadeh, 16 years old, died after being beaten by security forces on 23 September, in Gohardasht, in the province of Alborz. Iranian authorities said both girls died by jumping or falling from buildings and harassed and arrested family members.