Tehran [Iran], October 6 (ANI): The death toll in the deadly clashes between Iran's security forces and people in Zahedan, the capital of Iran's Sistan and Balochistan Province, has risen to 82, Amnesty International said Thursday.
Protests in Zahedan populated by the Baluchi ethnic minority took place after Friday prayers on September 30 as a show of solidarity with nationwide protests and to demand accountability for the reported rape of a 15-year-old girl by a police commander in the province.
Widely referred to by Iranians as "bloody Friday", the clashes on September 30 marked the deadliest day on record since protests started spreading across Iran nearly three weeks ago, after Mahsa Amini died in custody following her arrest by Iran's "morality" police, the international rights group said.
At least 66 people, including children, were killed and hundreds of others were injured during a violent clash after Friday prayers on September 30 in Zahedan, Sistan and Baluchistan province. Since then, another 16 people were killed in separate incidents in Zahedan amid ongoing clashes.
As the death numbers continue to surge, the group pointed out that evidence gathered from activists, victims' families, eyewitness testimonies, and images and videos of the protests suggest the real death toll from Zahedan is likely to be higher.
"The Iranian authorities have repeatedly shown utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and will stop at nothing to preserve power. The callous violence being unleashed by Iran's security forces is not occurring in a vacuum. It is the result of systematic impunity and a lacklustre response by the international community," said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International's Secretary General.
"It is particularly abhorrent that nearly three years after the November 2019 protests, in which hundreds of people were unlawfully killed, the Iranian authorities have shamelessly continued their ruthless assault on human life. The only way to break the impunity that empowers such actions is for UN member states to urgently establish an independent investigative and accountability mechanism for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran," she added.
After the news spread, deadly clashes broke out in Zahedan which is home to the Baluch ethnic minority that largely adheres to Sunni Islam in predominantly Shiite Iran, an Abu Dhabi-based news portal The National News Quoting Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) NGO. (ANI)