Monthly November 2022 – Systematic violence against women in Iran
Systematic violence against women in Iran during Iran protests
Over 80 days into the anti-regime protests, Iranian women and youths continue their struggle for regime change in Iran. Other social strata have also joined them.
In the 16 days of unity and activism around the world to end violence against women and girls, the monthly report of the NCRI Women’s Committee is dedicated to Iranian women protesters who are fighting for freedom and equality despite massive state-sponsored brutality directed against them.
During the protests, the extent of human rights violations in Iran led the United Nations to hold a special session by the Human Right Council in Geneva on November 24, 2022.
In his opening remarks to the special session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, pointed to “a full-fledged human rights crisis” in Iran.
“Women, young people, men, from across society – students, workers from various sectors, athletes and artists are clamoring for change. With incredible courage,” Mr. Turk noted.
The UNHRC resolution expressed deep concern, among others, “about allegations of pervasive human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including reports of women and girls being arbitrarily arrested and detained, beaten and sexually assaulted for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
In a landmark decision, the council adopted a resolution approving the establishment of an “independent international fact-finding mission,” to “thoroughly and independently investigate alleged human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran related to the protests starting on September 16, 2022, including the gender dimensions of such violations.”
The UNHRC called on the Iranian regime to “cooperate fully with the independent international fact-finding mission, to grant unhindered access to the country without any delay and to provide the members of the fact-finding mission with all information necessary to allow for the proper fulfilment of their mandate.”
Paying the price for daring to stand for their rights
State-sponsored violence against women in Iran was already prevalent. However, it increased drastically over the past 80 days of the uprising, causing irreversible damages and deaths.
Iranian female protesters have suffered seriously at the hands of brutal security forces for daring to stand for their inalienable rights and the rights of their people.
This report focuses on the various forms of violence directed against female protesters in Iran.
Killing by repeated blows to the head
One of the inhuman methods of Iranian security forces in dealing with protesters is dealing heavy blows to their heads.
In this video footage, one can see a plainclothes agent attacking a young woman walking in the street without covering her hair. He hits her not on the back or sides but directly on the head. Fortunately, people arrive and save the girl. However, this video remains stark evidence of how the regime systematically uses this method to quash the protests.
Security forces, in this way, have killed a considerable number of protesters. Following is a list of women and girls who have lost their lives in this manner:
- Mahsa Amini, 22, went into a coma for three days and died in a hospital in Tehran on September 16, 2022, after being beaten in the head and face by batons.
2. Sarina Esmailzadeh, 16, was killed by multiple blows of batons to her head during a protest in Mehrshahr, Karaj, on September 21, 2022.
3. Nika Shakarami, 17, Tehran, her skull, face, and nose had been smashed by the blows of a heavy object.
4. Negin Salehi, 26, was killed on October 8 by the blows of a baton to her head. She died before reaching the hospital.
5. Arnika Qaem Maghami, 17, went into a coma after being hit in the head and died after ten days in a Tehran hospital on October 22, 2022.
6. Negin Abdolmaleki, 21, was seriously injured due to the blows of batons to her head. She died at the dormitory on October 12, 2022.
7. Sadaf Movahhedi, 17, suffered brain death from baton blows to her head and died on October 24, 2022.
8. Sarina Saedi, 16, died in a hospital in Sanandaj on October 26. Security forces shot her with pellet guns, then surrounded her and beat her in the head.
9. Marzieh Doshman Ziari, 22, was hit on the head by batons during protests in Shiraz. She died on October 24, 2022.
10. Setareh Tajik, 17, was an Afghan national. She was killed in Tehran on September 22, 2022, after being hit in the head by the baton blows.
11. Farzaneh Kazemi was killed by blows of a baton to her head in Qazvin on October 12, 2022.
12. Nasrin Qaderi, 35 from Marivan. She went into a coma after being hit by a baton. She died in a hospital in Tehran on November 5, 2022.
13. Maedeh (Mahak) Hashemi, 16, was killed in Shiraz by the blows of batons on November 24, 2022.
14. Pegah Ghavasieh, 21, was killed by the blows of batons to her head in Shiraz on November 5, 2022.
15. Maria Ghavasieh, 22, was killed by the blows of batons to her head in Shiraz on November 5, 2022.
Brutalizing high school students at school
Dozens of reports indicate that high school students are brutalized at school. This issue was dealt with in detail in the monthly report for October. Here, we list the names of those girls who lost their lives and those still in a coma.
- Asra Panahi, 15, was brutally beaten at school on October 13, 2022. She later died in a hospital in Ardabil due to internal bleeding.
- Parmis Hamnava, 14, was beaten by the State Security forces in class and in front of her classmates for tearing off Khomeini’s picture from her textbook. She died on October 25 due to internal bleeding.
- Hasti Hossein Panahi, a 16-year-old Kurdish student from Dehgolan, has been in a coma since November 10. She is in the Kowsar Hospital in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan.
Hasti was summoned to the Department of Education for tearing Khomeini’s picture off her textbook. At the department, she was beaten up by batons to death. Then, her half-dead body was transferred out of the department by a bus and thrown out in the street.
The authorities declared that she wanted to commit suicide. They said she jumped out of the bus despite efforts by her friends and the driver to prevent her.
In a related development in late November, a school principal, Dr. Zahra Lori, was reported dead in Kerman, southern Iran. Dr. Lori’s students at Rezvani Nejad High School held a sit-in protest last month. However, Dr. Lori erased the CCTV recordings and refused to give the students’ names to agents of the Intelligence Department. They summoned and dismissed her from her job. Dr. Lori died a short time after the summoning.
There were also reports that nine students from an all-girls school in Iranshahr, SE Iran, were arrested with the cooperation of the school principal and taken to an unspecified location.
Pregnant women are not spared from the brutality
Security forces in Mashhad brutalized and arrested a pregnant woman, Mahshid Kashani Nejad, during protests in the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province, NE Iran.
Ms. Kashani Nejad suffered a miscarriage due to the violent beating. She also suffered a fracture in her shoulder. She is denied access to appropriate medical services in the Central Prison of Mashhad quarantine.
Blinding and deaths by indiscriminate shooting
Security forces blinded a young woman in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, on November 15. The young woman, Ghazal Ranjkesh, was shot in the eye when returning home with her mother. Pellets destroyed the eyeball, her eyelid, and part of her face.
In an Instagram story, Ms. Ranjkesh later wrote, “After a 3-hour operation, doctors removed the pellets from my eye. There are 52 stitches in my right eye, with which I can no longer see. The retina has been totally damaged, and there is no possibility of grafting the cornea.”
On Wednesday night, November 30, news broke out on social media that a six-year-old girl named Bita Kiani was shot in the eye by state agents using pellet guns. She was playing on the balcony of their house in Malekshahr, Isfahan.
Niloufar Aghaii, a midwife, was shot in the eye last month during the doctors’ protests outside the Medical Organization building.
On November 25, 2022, a group of 140 ophthalmologists in Iran wrote an open letter warning that many people had lost their sight in one or two eyes due to being shot in the eye by bullets and paintballs.
The New York Times wrote on November 19, 2022, hundreds of victims have suffered severe eye injuries inflicted by Iranian security forces since mid-September, according to doctors and medical facilities.
Such indiscriminate shootings have caused loss of lives, as well.
Security forces shot and killed Kian Pirfalak, 10, as he and his family passed through in a car in the city of Izeh on November 16.
Previously, they had killed two women (two mothers) by indiscriminate shooting into people’s homes and cars.
On October 27, Fereshteh Ahmadi, 32, the mother of 2 young children, was shot and killed while standing on the balcony of her home.
On September 22, Shirin Alizadeh, 35, with a 7-year-old son, was shot in the head as she passed through in a car. She was filming the security forces brutalizing a young woman.
Torture of protesters in prisons
Neda Bayat died under torture in Zanjan on November 26. She had been raped, and her skull smashed. Neda Bayat was a brave girl who went on the roof of a state security vehicle to show her protest in the early days of the protests.
The Morality Police (or Guidance Patrols) violently brought her down from the top of the car, after which she disappeared.
Mina Yaghoubi was released on bail at 3 a.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2022. Dark bruises around her eye showed that she had been viciously tortured while in detention.
Mina Yaghoubi, 33, was reportedly arrested during protests in Arak on November 1 for throwing stones at a cemetery. She is a bodybuilding coach and has a 12-year-old son. Security forces kidnapped her outside the bodybuilding club where she worked.
The Justice Department of Arak announced that Mina Yaghoubi had twice attempted to commit suicide. Once, she threw herself from the prison’s second floor, a claim by the department, which Ms. Yaghoubi flatly rejected.
The bruise around her eye is said to be due to heavy blows to her head and forehead.
Yalda Aghafazli, 19, was arrested in Tehran on October 26. She spent four days in Evin and was subsequently transferred to the notorious Qarchak Prison, where she was held for another 11 days. She went on strike after being arrested.
In a call from Qarchak, she told a friend, “I was beaten in these 12-13 days more than all the 19 years of my life. My voice is hoarse because I screamed and shouted all the time, but I did not express remorse to the last moment.”
She told her friend, “They wrote in my file, ‘the convict did not express remorse,’ and I said yes, this is it. I will not express remorse. And to the last moment, I accepted everything I had done. They said you were in the riots. I said yes. I didn’t cry, and I just shouted and screamed, that’s why my voice is so hoarse. Look, they beat me so much you couldn’t think of it! I can’t talk here very much, but (Ouch, my back, Ouch) I’ll tell you face to face when I’m out. I’ll tell you all of it.”
In seemingly another audio recording, she is so happy that she did not break into prison. She tells her friend, “I didn’t express any regret to the last moment. It was written in my file that the accused did not express remorse. And I felt, “Yeaaah, exactly!”
Yalda Aghafazli was released on bail on November 9. In the photos, she appeared very high-spirited. She was happy that the news of her arrest had been reported, and she was grateful to everyone.
Two days later, on November 11, it was reported that she had committed suicide. First, they said she had thrown herself from a rooftop, and then the state media said she had died of an overdose of crack. (The official IRNA news agency – November 14, 2022)
The circumstances of her death are suspicious. The regime apparently released her from jail to kill this resistant woman outside.
Sexual assault in jails
Last month, we reported plainclothes agents sexually assaulting female protesters in the streets. This month, there have been reports and testimonies of sexual assaults in jails.
Rape and sexual assault on female and male prisoners have been one of how the clerical regime attempts to break their resistant opponents since the 1980s.
They have been doing the same thing to the young women and men protesting in the streets since September this year. The use of sexual assault against incarcerated protesters, particularly women, is so extensive that foreign media have also reported it.
CNN corroborated several reports of sexual violence against protesters. At least one of these caused severe injury, and another involved the rape of an underage boy.
In some cases, sources who spoke to the victims told CNN that the sexual assault was filmed and used to blackmail the protesters into silence.
Armita Abbassi, 20, was gang raped in prison many times. She was rushed to the hospital on October 17. Her head had been shaved, and she was shaking violently. The medical staff thought she had cancer, but later, it became clear that she was bleeding from her rectum due to repeated rape.
The medical staff in the hospital reported Armita’s case. Plainclothes security forces ordered the doctor to report the situation as rape before arrest. At least four or five medics confirmed that she had been raped in custody. Police prevented staff from speaking to Armita. Security forces removed Abbasi from the hospital through a rear entrance just before her family arrived to see her.
But the fight goes on
Despite so many atrocities, young Iranian women and men are fighting the mullahs’ ruthless regime with courage. They fight with open eyes, knowing well of all the dangers awaiting them in the streets and jails. However, they are determined to pay the price and topple the heinous regime at whatever cost.
They know that being selfless, united, and organized is key to their victory and achieving freedom. Iranian women and youths expect the world to stand by them and refuse to assist the ruling regime in Iran. They want the world to recognize their right to self-defense in the face of such a brutal regime and make all relations with the mullahs, conditional on ending human rights violations.
Oust the regime from UN institutions
The mullahs’ regime does not represent the people of Iran. A child-killing regime that is so brutal to women, children, and youths does not deserve to be a member of the UN institutions.
The regime’s membership in the UN Commission on the Status of Women should be terminated immediately.
On April 23, 2021, the NCRI Women’s Committee protested the membership of the clerical regime in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), calling it a step against women’s rights and human rights.
“The clerical regime’s CSW membership is an insult to Iranian women who have struggled against this medieval regime for more than four decades to regain their rights,” the NCRI Women’s Committee said.
On December 1, 2022, the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi once again called on the United Nations to expel the misogynist mullahs’ regime from the CSW for its many crimes against women from 1979 until now and during the recent uprising.
Mrs. Rajavi reiterated that the clerical regime is the enemy of Iranian women and humanity. It should be removed from all international positions and seats it occupies in Iran’s name.