01/20/2023, 18.16
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Silencing protests for Mahsa Amini by blinding protesters

Hundreds of young people have sustained serious eye injuries, some losing their sight because of bullets and pellets fired by paramilitary units and security forces. In many cases, medical records are doctored to prevent reprisals against the wounded. One little girl was hit at least 10 times in the face. Doctors who speak to the media lose their job.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – For the past four months, Iran has been shaken by widespread unrest following the death in mid-September of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, at the hands of the morality police.

Since then, the authorities have cracked down hard on protesters; increasingly, when firing security forces are aiming at their faces, a not so symbolic way to tell people to bow to head covering rules.

As a result, more and more people are sustaining eye injuries, in what appears to be an attempt to weaponise ocular trauma to silence dissenters; one consequence is that medical staff are forced to doctor medical records to prevent reprisals by the authorities against hundreds of wounded young people.

For Iran’s Islamist regime, this trend represents further descent into a spiral of violence characterised by people summarily tried, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging in order to crush the aspirations and demands of many men and women, from different generations, who want greater freedom and rights.

In an in-depth probe, IranWire reports that hundreds of people, including youth, have suffered serious eye injuries from pellets, tear gas, rubber bullets, and iron marbles used by the security forces.

The exact number is unknown, but doctors have been overwhelmed in some cases by the number of injured with ruptured globes, severed optic nerves, and damaged retinas.

Back in November, the I reported more than 500 patients with serious eye injuries were admitted to three Tehran hospitals, many with metal and plastic fragments lodged in their faces.

In many such cases, doctors prefer to record eye conditions unrelated to the actual injuries, like cataracts, to protect the patients from the security forces. Having a shotgun wound is tantamount to saying that the person took part in street protests.

A doctor in Tehran, on condition of anonymity, said that a little girl was hit in the face by at least 10 times. “The pellets entered deep into her eye and stayed in that area. Benita was one of the worst cases we investigated."

Others sustained eye injuries as a result of beatings with sticks and iron clubs. Now, after months of silence, some young victims are turning to social media to speak out.

“After one month and 20 days,” one young woman returned to the place where she was shot. “I was standing right here,” she says, “when a member of (the paramilitary) Basij force decided to shoot me in the eye and take my sight.”

Another one remembers that she liked it “when someone complimented me. They would say what beautiful eyes I had. I miss my beautiful eyes,".

Such stories and witnesses show how targeting faces is not accidental, but deliberate, intentional, aimed at hitting and causing serious injuries.

Hundreds of cases have been reported across the country in provinces like Tehran, Alborz, Isfahan, West Azerbaijan, Fars, and Kurdistan.

In view of the situation, a group of 120 ophthalmologists signed an open letter addressed to the head of the Iranian Association of Ophthalmology, warning him of the consequences of such attacks and urging him to warn the authorities to stop them.

The appeal has so far fallen on deaf ears, because security forces continue to hit out and those who speak to the media get fired, as one doctor from a Tehran hospital found out.

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