ANKARA - Stating that the Iranian government wants to give a message to the activists by cutting off the internet, IHR Director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam said: “They want to lose the motivation of the protesters and demoralize them. So far they have not been able to do that."
The protests against the 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jîna Mahsa Amini, who was murdered by the "morality police" in Iran, continue on its 11th day. Despite the use of force, detentions, arrests and attacks by the counter-regime forces, the resistance spreading after Amini's murder by the morality police, people do not leave the street. While the protests led by women who burned their headscarves and cut hair spread all over the world, according to the data of the Iranian Human Rights Organisation, at least 54 people were killed by the police and the Revolutionary Guards in the demonstrations in the country, while the Iranian State, which wanted to reduce the international visibility of the protests in the country, cut off internet access.
Making evaluations to the Mesopotamia Agency (MA) regarding the increasingly ongoing protests in Iran, Iranian Human Rights Association Director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam explained the ongoing internet outage in Iran and the situation of the activists detained during the protests, and called for sharing the events with the public.
200 PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN 2019
Stating that In 2019, there was another uprising, and that's when Iran cut off the internet, Moghaddam said: "In the November 2019 demonstrations, a person who concealed his identity but claimed to be an Iranian official told Reuters that 1,500 people had been killed. Reuters also served this information based on that source. We, as human rights organisations such as the Iranian Human Rights Association (IHR), Amnesty International, have managed to confirm the deaths of several hundred people. However, there are many reports that families coming to our association or other associations from different cities are threatened not to talk about their murdered relatives. Our conclusion from our work on the November 2019 demonstrations is that the actual figure is well above 1,500. However, due to restrictions on communication, threats by the Iranian regime against family members, human rights defenders and human rights reporters, and our lives at risk, it is quite difficult to come up with the true figure, but out of the 328 that our association can pronounce and verify, and the 324 that Amnesty International can verify. Even the Iranian authorities admitted that 200 people were killed, and they themselves voiced it on television. However, it was never pronounced by whom these 200 people were killed. Unfortunately, this is a situation that Iranians are very used to. Authorities are not held accountable for crimes involving state officials in Iran. They are complete impunity.
THE STREETS ARE GETTING MORE FULL INSTEAD OF HAVING NO ACCESS TO INTERNET
Stating that there is a serious internet nonaccess right now, Moghaddam said: "There are two reasons why they cut the internet. First, they want to prevent the crimes they have committed here from being proven with reports and videos and announced to the world. But there is a more important reason; They are trying to send a message to the activists. They are trying to say that no one hears or sees the protests and they will do whatever they want to them; thus, they want to lose the motivation of the activists and demoralize them. So far they have not been able to do this. The internet has been down for days, but the streets are getting more and more full instead of empty. Of course, we have serious concerns that police violence will increase as long as the protests continue."
Speaking about the fate of those arrested in these demonstrations, Moghaddam said: "We know from the experience in previous demonstrations that they will use all kinds of force and pressure. We know they will torture detainees. In this way, they will try to make the activists they arrest say that they are getting financial support and orders from outside, which they always do. In such cases, the Iranian regime always wants to tell the outside that there is no problem with the people in Iran, that such situations are organized by 'external forces', and it uses all means for this. This time, they will apply pressure to the people they arrest and try to make them say it. Iran is famous for torture and ill-treatment. This is something to expect, unfortunately."
POLICE PILE UP IN HOSPITALS IN IRAN
Speaking about the current situation in hospitals, Moghaddam said: "Unfortunately, Iran does not comply with any international rules and obligations. The security forces used ambulances to carry police and ammunition, and even used these vehicles as a means of detention. There is also information that the injured who were taken to the ambulances were not taken to the hospital but to other places. But we haven't been able to confirm this yet. In Iran, the police always pile up in hospitals in such big demonstrations. They take statements from the wounded who are taken to the hospital without even being treated, and threaten the doctors and nurses not to give information to the outside world. Many times, seriously injured activists were transferred to prison without any treatment."
PRESS MOTIVATES PEOPLE ON STREETS
Giving messages to the international community and journalists as human rights organisations working in Iran, Moghaddam said: "At the moment, all institutions and organisations working on human rights in Iran, in short, anyone who does things that the Iranian government does not like, are in danger. Therefore, we know that there may be situations such as websites being shut down, cyber-attacked, or we are arrested, and we are trying to take every precaution against it. But sometimes measures are not enough. Therefore, our message to the international community and journalists is as follows; First of all, anyone who has information about what is going on in the field should forward this information to us or institutions such as Hengaw and KHRN via our social media accounts. There are thousands of Iranians outside the country whose relatives are on the street here, and they may have information and share this information with us and journalists. This is extremely important to make the voices of those resisting on the streets heard in Iran. Iranian authorities cut off the internet because they don't want your voice to be heard. They want to give you the message that no one will hear or see you. They want to tell you we can do whatever we want. However, when the press reports on those who resist, it gives great morale and motivation to the people in this street, and moreover, it serves as a warning to the Iranian regime. It says the world is watching you and one day you will give an account for what you have done."
MA / Gözde Çağrı Özköse