Iran protests: Scenes of civil unrest against government
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An Iranian doctor has described in vivid detail being brutally “attacked and beaten” by the regime’s security forces. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, 40-year-old Mohsen Hashemi, a general practitioner from Mashhad, a city in northeastern Iran, described being “punched and kicked”, “hit on my back” and dragged into the back of a car belonging to the security forces. He also detailed a callous attack by the regime’s forces against a female relative of his in Mashhad, when “they hit her wrist and elbow with a baton”, breaking her arm. His accounts come as the United Nations Human Rights Council held a special session on Thursday to address “the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, with the high commissioner opening the meeting by describing the situation in Iran as “a full-fledged human rights crisis”.
Mr Hashemi, who has volunteered to attend to protesters injured by the regime’s security forces, said: “A few weeks ago, at the intersection of Azadshahr in Mashhad, I saw that repressive agents of the regime were trying to stop the people by using terror and intimidation.
“I passed one metre away from them. Although I had a mask on my face, I saw the fear in their eyes. One of them told me not to stare at him and go away.
“I stood there for a few minutes, when suddenly they attacked me and even grabbed my hand, punched and kicked me, and hit me on my back. They just grabbed my hand and took me to the car to arrest me and take me away, on the charge of, let’s say, taking a picture of them.
“They handed me over to a plainclothes agent to throw me in the car. Here I saw defection among them; he released me although I had already been beaten. I ran away, but I stopped only a few metres away.”
He added: “A week ago, one of my relatives who is also a doctor was walking on a sidewalk in Ahmedabad, Mashhad. She was not chanting any slogan, but, unfortunately, regime forces hit her wrist and elbow with a baton and broke it.
“She is a very honourable woman and has not been participating in the protests. For the past few days, we have been busy with her surgery and treatment.”
Mr Hashemi said he was “proud to be a member of the relief support of the MEK Resistance”.
In speaking to Express.co.uk, he risks further oppression from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. He waived his right to anonymity, putting himself in danger, to lend further weight to his remarks.
Appealing to the West, Mr Hashemi added: “We ask countries from the European Union, UK, and other countries that can be effective, to put the IRGC on their blacklist and sanction them.
“You should support. You should expel the ambassadors of this regime from your countries. This is your first step, why don’t you do it?”
He added that countries like England should not “appease this regime” but “stand by the Iranian people”.
On Thursday, the Human Rights Council opened its debate and voted on a proposal, presented by Germany and Iceland and backed by dozens of other countries, to set up a team of independent investigators to monitor human rights in Iran.
The protests were triggered by the death in mid-September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while being held by the morality police for violating a strictly enforced Islamic dress code.
The session in Geneva is the latest international effort to put pressure on Iran over its crackdown, which has already drawn international sanctions and other measures.
Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the session by saying he held “deep admiration” for the Iranian people and their “incredible courage”.
He said: “It pains me to see what is happening in the country: the images of children killed, of women beaten in the streets, of people sentenced to death. The unnecessary and disproportionate use of force [from the regime] must come to an end. We are now in a full-fledged human rights crisis.”
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In recent events in Iran, the regime’s Judiciary has issued several death sentences for the demonstrators in an attempt to intimidate the Iranian people despite widespread international outrage. President Ebrahim Raisi has called for faster implementation of the sentences in his recent speech.
And activists said Iranian security forces on Monday used heavy gunfire against demonstrators in a western Kurdish town, killing at least five during an anti-government protest at the funeral of two people killed the day before. Last week, a nine-year-old boy, Kian Pirfalak, was fatally wounded after security forces opened fire on him and his father as they drove home.
Shahin Gobadi, a press spokesman of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Paris, urged the UN to “immediately establish a special independent inquiry regarding the regime’s ruthless crackdown on protesters”.
He called on the organisation to “take specific steps to hold the regime and its leaders accountable for their crimes”, adding that the regime had been “trying to put a blanket on its crimes” by restricting access to the internet and limiting the news of its crimes.
Iranian security forces have killed at least 640 protesters, including 60 children, some as young as seven years old, and arrested at least 30,000 protesters who are under severe torture, according to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK).
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