December 27, 2009

NIAC Strongly Condemns Violence against Iranian Protesters during Ashura

Washington DC – The National Iranian American Council strongly condemns the unlawful violence used against Iranian protesters and mourners during Ashura over the weekend. The Council also welcomes the White House’s condemnation of the “unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights.”

At least nine protesters have reportedly been killed in the unrest, including the nephew of Mir Hossein Moussavi, Iran’s opposition leader. Iranian officials admit that they have arrested 300 protesters as well.

The death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, which coincided with the beginning of Muharram, has spurred fresh protests against the Iranian government. Tehran’s police chief and other senior Iranian government officials threatened a “harsh” crackdown last week if Iranians took to the streets to protest against the government.

“The citizens of Iran are not backing down from their demands for justice and democratic rights,” said Dokhi Fassihian, of NIAC’s Board of Directors. “We are outraged by the brutality and violence used to suppress these legitimate demands. NIAC stands with them in this historic struggle.”

While foreign journalists have been banned from covering events, and internet and mobile phones interrupted, amateur videos are still being sent outside the country showing civilians being killed and wounded in clashes with government forces. Many videos have also shown protesters struggling to ensure that violence against them is not met with violence against security forces.

“Extrajudicial killings and the excessive use of force against civilians are violations of international law,” said Trita Parsi, President of NIAC. “Those responsible for ordering or for carrying out orders to shoot unarmed civilians or injure them must be held accountable for their crimes in a court of law.”




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