12/11/2019, 17.48
IRAN
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About 160 Iranian lawyers write to Rouhani calling for an inquiry into crackdown

The lawyers want the facts and justice for the victims of the November protest over fuel price hikes. So far, no official death toll has been released. According to international NGOs, 208 people were killed. For US government, about a thousand were killed. Pro-reform lawmaker decides not to run again to protest against abuses.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – In a letter addressed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at least 160 prominent Iranian lawyers have called for an investigation into the violent crackdown against fuel price protests in mid-November.

President Rouhani recently called for the release of innocent people arrested and punishment for those responsible for the killing and abuse of protesters.

For the lawyers, blaming "foreign plots" whilst “ignoring the causes and the objective reasons of people's dissatisfaction" would only lead to similar events in the future.

In the letter, they say that the protests were the outcome of "indefensible outright mistakes”. They go on to ask the president to publish the number of people killed and hurt as well as demand compensation for families.

Three weeks after the event, the Iranian government has not yet made public the number of people killed and wounded by security forces sent to break up rallies in various cities and towns.

Some international NGOs estimate that 208 people were killed over four days. The US government claims that up to a thousand people were killed in what is clearly an attempt to put pressure on Iran.

Describing footage and images of security forces attacking unarmed protesters as "worrisome", the letter asks “Whether the regulations concerning the use of weapons had been respected? Who was in charge of the operations against the people? Who ordered to spray the protesters with bullets?”

The lawyers also offer free legal advice to the victims of the security forces. But so far, only the governor of a township near Tehran has claimed responsibility for ordering the security forces to shoot at the protesters who had tried to invade her office.

The letter signed by 160 lawyers, which appeared on the Kalemeh opposition website, ends demanding the immediate resignation of those who gave orders to shoot and arrest people, about 8,000 in 21 provinces (out of 31) according to independent sources.

Meanwhile, Iran’s parliament (Majlis) more and more members are calling for justice for the victims of the violence.

One of them, Parvaneh Salahshouri, a reform-minded sociologist who represents a Tehran district, announced her decision not to seek re-election in the upcoming February election in protest against November’s brutal suppression.

The 54-year-old leader of women's faction said that she also objects to policies that restrict the parliament's power and authority.

"I came to that decision despite all my love for the people that I am indebted to. I could not convince my conscience to run again,” she explained.

Some Majlis sources suggest that the Council of Guardians, which is mandated to approve or reject candidates, was set to block her re-election.

Elected with 1,198,760 votes, she has sharply criticised government leaders in the past, most notably in connection with another violent crackdown in late 2017 and early 2018.

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