The Human Rights Center at the University of California Berkeley has unveiled findings regarding repressive measures employed by the Iranian government against protesters in 2022-2023.

In a comprehensive investigation, the center confirmed that approximately 120 individuals suffered partial or total blindness due to the use of extreme force by Iranian security agents during the protests that erupted in September 2022 and continued into early 2023.

While the investigators stopped short of directly accusing security forces of intentionally blinding protesters, the evidence presented indicates deliberate targeting of individuals, including women, with close-range shots to the face using shotguns, paintball guns, and tear gas canisters.

The majority of victims were students, with many under the age of 30. Among them was a 5-year-old girl who was struck while innocently observing the demonstrations from a balcony.

Speaking on behalf of the investigative team, Melinda Zou emphasized the courage displayed by the protesters.

“I saw the bravery of people our age — university students taking to the streets and putting their lives on the line — and that really resonated with me.”

The center’s faculty co-director, Alexa Koenig, highlighted the potential use of the investigation’s data in international legal proceedings to hold Iranian authorities accountable.

The findings were presented during a side event at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland this month.

In September 2022, historic protests erupted in Iran following the arrest of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman accused of defying mandatory hijab. Amini’s death, just three days after her arrest, ignited outrage.

Reports from news outlets and human rights organizations indicated that over 500 people, including women and children, were killed by security forces in the protests dubbed as Woman, Life, Freedom movement. More than 20,000 individuals were detained or imprisoned, many subjected to beatings, torture, or rape.

Source » iranintl