Iran. At least 63 killed in suppression of demonstrations in Zahedan

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At least 63 people were killed last week when Iranian security forces carried out a “bloody crackdown” on a demonstration in Zahedan in southeastern Iran, Iran Human Rights, a Norwegian-based human rights organization, said Tuesday.

The clashes erupted after Friday prayers last week in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, populated by the Sunni Baloch minority.

This came after demonstrations across the country that erupted after the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the vice police.

But human rights groups said the demonstration in Zahedan began after accusations that the police chief of the city of Chabahar, also in Sistan-Baluchistan, raped a 15-year-old Baloch woman.

The human rights organization stated that “Several people gathered after Friday prayers in Zahedan on 30 September to protest the rape of a 15-year-old Balochi girl by the police chief of Chabahar, and the security forces violently suppressed the demonstration. .”

Messages posted on social media at the time spoke of dozens of deaths in Zahedan on Friday, and pictures showed hospitals that were beyond their capacity and bodies covered in blood.

There were also reports of victims dying in hospitals due to lack of beds and bandages to stop the bleeding.

Activists also said security forces fired on protesters from helicopters. An Iranian human rights organization said four people in an open-topped vehicle were killed in a military helicopter attack in northern Zahedan.

The NGO Baloch Activists Campaign published on its Telegram channel the names of 67 of the 67 people it says were killed, adding that 300 people were injured.

However, official Iranian media reported that five members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in what they called a “terrorist incident”.

The police chief of Sistan and Balochistan said in statements to state television that three police stations in the province were attacked.

The neighboring province of Pakistan, Sistan-Baluchistan, is one of the poorest regions in Iran. In recent months, activists have complained about the disproportionate number of executions of Baloch convicts at a time when the number of hangings in the Islamic Republic has increased.

The region has also seen frequent clashes between security forces and drug-smuggling gangs, in addition to occasional attacks by Sunni extremist groups.

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