Call for Immediate Release of Peaceful Bazaar Demonstrators in Tehran and Condemnation of Remarks by Iran’s Chief Justice

Peaceful Bazaar Demonstrators

We are gravely concerned about the human rights violations going on in Iran, namely in Tehran, and the new wave of arrests and suppression of peaceful demonstrators and Bazaar merchants.

On June 25, shop owners and Bazaar merchants in Tehran went on strike, closing shop, and came to the streets to protest skyrocketing prices and dire economic conditions after the Iranian currency took another plunge.
Other people, especially young people, quickly joined the Bazaar merchants as high prices severely affect the already impoverished population.

The peaceful protesters were met with fully equipped riot police who shot pellets and tear gas at the crowds. Footage from Tehran shows police brutally beating protesters with batons. A large number of demonstrators have been detained in the ongoing protests. We are very concerned for those who are detained as the Iranian government is notorious for torturing and even killing protesters in detention as was the case in the December/January protests at the beginning of this year.

Top Iranian officials have also taken turns threatening protesters. On Tuesday, June 26, Tehran Prosecutor Jafari Dolat Abadi said that government officials would in no way be lenient in dealing with riots and unrest and added that “the elements behind the unrest were identified and that a large number of these people were arrested”.

He threatened that detainees would not be released until they were tried saying that these people were causing economic disturbances which carried a heavy punishment.

On the same day, the Chief Justice of Iran, Sadeq Larijani threatened Bazaar merchants and said, “The Islamic Republic will under no circumstances tolerate this. In particular, the Judiciary will deal with them firmly. I am hereby warning these disruptors of the economic system… Such acts of disrupting the country’s economic system based on the laws related to disrupting the country’s economic system have very heavy penalties. It’s stated there that if this act is found to be a case of “Corruption on Earth”, (the penalty is) execution and if it’s not the case, the sentence is up to 20 years of prison and all the person’s possessions would be confiscated”.

“We will not hesitate to implement this law. Today I’m warning those people, they are not many, the security forces know who they are and we are reiterating right here that they are obligated to identify these people at the earliest opportunity and to introduce them to the Judiciary”, Sadeq Larijani added.

These obvious threats and the government crackdown is an absolute lack of respect for freedom of opinion and the right to assemble and a flagrant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Civil and Political Rights. We believe that it is up to the United Nations to hold the Iranian government accountable for its actions and to condemn the Chief Justice’s remarks.

We request that the United Nations, OHCHR and the UN Human Rights Council take action and make decisive decisions to prevent further suppression and the arrest and torture of peaceful demonstrators and call for the unconditional release of all detainees especially those in Tehran. Please inform the Iranian authorities that if they continue their suppressive measures and threats against peaceful demonstrators, serious steps will be taken by the United Nations and other relevant organizations.

Footage of police brutality