Crimes Against Humanity in Iran

A United Nations (UN) expert has warned that Iran’s authorities have committed violations since protests erupted last year that may amount to crimes against humanity.

The protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab “improperly” and died in custody.

The UN expert, Javaid Rehman, said he was alarmed by the scale and gravity of the reported cases of murder, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and persecution by the security forces. He cited evidence that Amini died “as a result of beatings” by members of the morality police, and that state authorities denied any wrongdoing or misconduct. He also said that security forces fired live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets directly at unarmed and peaceful protesters, among them many children and youth, who posed no imminent threat to life or serious injury. He added that protesters, including children, were beaten to death, subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in detention, and sexually abused or threatened with rape.

Mr. Rehman noted that four protesters have been executed since December 2023 following “arbitrary, summary and sham trials marred by torture allegations”, and that more than 100 others have reportedly been sentenced to death or charged with capital offenses. He called for an international fact-finding mission to investigate the violations and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Iran’s ambassador Ali Bahreini rejected the allegations as imaginary and based on Western governments, media outlets, and “terrorist groups” who “portray their imaginations as the reality of the human rights situation in Iran”.



Iran violations may amount to crimes against humanity, UN expert says. Reuters, March 20, 2023.