Human Rights Watch called on Iranian authorities to open an investigation into the deaths of at least 30 people in protests since January 2018.
Iranian officials have shown no sign of fair investigations into these deaths, or the use of excessive force by security forces to quell protests.
In a statement on Saturday, the organization called on the Iranian authorities to drop all charges against demonstrators for peaceful assembly and to release detainees on this basis. Since August 2, 2018, authorities detained more than 50 people during protests in Tehran alone.
“The Iranian government uses authoritarian methods to respond to protests, criminalize peaceful opposition, and protect security forces from accountability,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“Instead of blaming” foreign elements “for the protests, the Iranian authorities should allow citizens to criticize the government for using their right to peaceful opposition.”
The organization noted the new wave of protests in Iran on July 31 due to deteriorating economic conditions and government corruption, which began in the city of Isfahan and quickly spread to other cities, including Karaj in the province of Barz and the capital Tehran.
She confirmed that during the protests in Karaj on 3 August, a demonstrator, Rida Otaadi, was shot dead by security forces.
Human Rights Watch also quoted informed sources that some 50 people arrested during the August 3 protests are being held in the prison of Vashvoye, in extremely difficult conditions, including the lack of safe drinking water, poor hygiene, the spread of diseases, torture and beatings of prisoners and detainees.
Since December 2017, several waves of protest have taken place across Iran, authorities have arrested around 4,000 protesters, the Intelligence Ministry has arrested at least 150 students and the courts have sentenced 17 people to prison.