One year after protests that were harshly suppressed by the Iranian authorities, grief over the hundreds of mainly young lives lost is matched by anger over the lack of accountability for a crackdown whose scale is only now beginning to emerge.
The protests, of a magnitude rarely seen in Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the biggest since 2009 rallies over a disputed election, erupted nationwide in November last year after a sudden hike in fuel prices.
The authorities only managed to impose control after a ruthless crackdown that, Amnesty International said, left at least 304 people dead in a deliberate policy to shoot at demonstrators.
The harshness of the crackdown and size of the toll were concealed by an Internet shutdown that protesters denounced as a bid to prevent information from filtering out.
Not a single official in Iran has faced justice over the repression, amid allegations that families who lost loved ones have been pressured into keeping silent.
However, those arrested during the protests have faced sentences, including the death penalty.
“Iranian authorities have avoided any measure of accountability and continue to harass the families of those killed during the protest,” said Tara Sepehri Far, an Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Even now the scale of the suppression is still unclear, and Amnesty has said that the toll is likely to exceed its figure of 304 verified deaths.
At least 23 of those killed were under the age of 18, Amnesty said, including teenagers like 15-year-old Mohammad Dastankhah, who was shot by security forces stationed on a roof as he walked home from school.
The refusal of Iran to prosecute any officials has prompted protesters to set up their own “tribunal” to determine whether crimes were committed under international law.
The Aban Tribunal is named after the Iranian month when the events took place.
Rights lawyers and other tribunal members are to hear evidence from witnesses and victims from Feb. 10 to 12 in The Hague.
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