Forty prominent Iranian human rights lawyers have publicly criticised the country’s clerical rulers, saying their crackdowns which crushed dissent for decades will no longer work and protesters seeking a new political order will prevail.
“The government is still drowning in illusions and believes it can repress, arrest and kill to silence,” the lawyers, some inside the country and some outside, said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“But the flood of people will ultimately remove a government because the divine will side with the people. The voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Those inside the country risk arrest with their comments. But their statement is the latest example of how an increasing number of Iranians are no longer paralysed by the fear of the state that kept them in line for decades.
Among the lawyers signing the statement is Saeid Dehghan, who has represented dual nationals jailed in Iran on security-related charges. Another is Giti Pourfazel, who was among activists jailed for signing an open letter in 2019 urging Khamenei to resign. She was released in 2021.
The protests ignited by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16 after her arrest for inappropriate attire have shakenIran’s clerical establishment.
Iran’s political system is a complex mix of a Shi’ite Muslim clerical authority and an elected president and parliament.
The president runs the government day-to-day, but reports to the deeply anti-Western Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The nationwide demonstrations, which use chants calling for the death of Khamenei, are posing one of the boldest challenges since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran blames its foreign foes and their agents for the protests and accuses them of trying to destabilise the country.
In past years major protests, which were crushed violently, focused on election results and economic woes while the current unrest has one main demand – the fall of the Islamic Republic.
Iran has been widening its crackdown, deploying security forces at protests and making arrests of a wide range of Iranians from lawyers to doctors to rappers.
Videos shared on social media show that a crowd of hundreds gathered on Thursday in a central avenue of the city of Karaj to pay their respects to Hadis Najafi who was shot and killed by security forces, according to her sister and reports on social media.
Protesters in Karaj were seen in a video posted online burning and tearing a brown “abah”, which is the long piece of cloth that Shi’ite clerics wear.
A member of the Basij militia was killed in Karaj and five police officers were wounded during a riot, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
Human Rights Watch said Iranian authorities had escalated their assault against widespread dissent and protests through dubious national security charges against detained activists and grossly unfair trials.
“Iran’s vicious security apparatus is using every tactic in its book, including lethal force against protesters, arresting and slandering human rights defenders and journalists, and sham trials to crush widespread dissent,” said Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“Yet every new atrocity only reinforces why Iranians are demanding fundamental changes to a corrupt autocracy.”
Rights group Hengaw reported on Thursday that a 27-year-old rapper from Kermanshah was charged as being an “enemy of God”, a capital offence under Iran’s Islamic law. According to the rights group, Saman Yasin had sung protest songs in Kurdish and has been tortured during his first three weeks detention.
Iran has denied allegations by human rights groups that it abuses prisoners.
Source » reuters