12/30/2021, 08.00
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Tehran: over 2,300 street protests, nearly 1,700 activists arrested in 2021

Mostly for labour rights, but also for basic resources such as water. 299 death row inmates executed. Abuses and violations against ethnic and religious minorities, convictions for "propaganda against the regime". Christian detainees granted a 10-day permit to celebrate Christmas with their families. 

Tehran (AsiaNews) - In 2021 there were more than 2,300 street protests in Iran, most of which were linked to workers' rights such as that of teachers who demanded higher salaries, but there were also demonstrations for basic resources, including water.

The data emerged in the annual report published this week by members of the Human Rights Activists News Agency (Hrana), who also denounce the arrest of more than 1,676 people for "political" activities or battles for rights, together with the execution of almost 300 prisoners on death row. 

From 1 January to 20 December 2021, unofficial trade unions organised 1,261 demonstrations in various parts of the country, with another 618 demonstrations and pickets outside workplaces. In terms of capital punishment, the executioner struck 299 times, including killing four people who were still minors at the time of the crime and recording a 26% increase in executions compared to the previous year. As of 20 December, Iranian judges had handed down 85 more death sentences. 

The military opened fire 242 times on civilians, killing 94; some during street protests, others while trying to cross the border to smuggle goods with Iraq or oil to Pakistan. The report also covers human rights violations committed against ethnic and religious minorities, freedom of expression and women's rights, such as attacks on those who refuse to wear the (compulsory) Islamic veil. 

Another area concerns abuses committed against ethnic minorities (390 cases in 2021) or religious minorities (144 cases, with 57 arrests and police raiding homes and carrying out searches on 60 occasions). With regard to arrests, the study by Hra experts shows a drop of 25% in 2021 compared to the previous year. The most affected were Baha'is with 72% of cases of violations, followed by newly converted Christians with 14%. 

There were 215 convictions for "propaganda against the regime", for a total of 10,140 months in prison. Criticism of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the army or religious leaders led to imprisonment and flogging: this year at least 16 people received a total of almost a thousand lashes.

Finally, according to the report, there were 575 incidents of abuse against prisoners, with 232 cases of denied medical care and 68 of prisoners deprived of the right to a defence and the assistance of a lawyer. 

On the subject of freedom and rights, it is worth mentioning the decision of the head of the judiciary to grant 10 days' leave to Christian prisoners, to allow them to spend Christmas with their families.

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei has instructed the authorities throughout the country to issue the dispensation, although there are currently no official figures on the number of detainees who have been able to benefit from the measure.

Those convicted of crimes against security, organised crime, kidnapping, armed robbery and those sentenced to death are excluded. Khamenei often grants amnesty to prisoners or reduces sentences on Muslim holidays, but it is rare for such measures to affect members of Iran's Christian minority.


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