Iranian security forces have “systematically” pointed guns at people’s eyes in a crackdown on demonstrations that have shaken the regime since September.
According to Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR), early data indicate that young women are disproportionately represented among those who have suffered these injuries.
This week, a senior police commander questioned about the matter by a Tehran newspaper denied this, insisting on the good behavior of the authorities.
But the IHR reports people were shot in the head and face, blinding “many protesters, including a significant number of young women”.
This “inhumane and illegal act” was “systematically carried out by the Islamic Republic to crush protests”, adds the NGO.
The IHR explains that it has identified 22 cases of protesters blinded in one eye by security forces shooting, including nine women.
The youngest person to lose an eye, Bonita Kiani Falavarjani, was a six-year-old girl who was hit by a bullet while standing on her grandfather’s porch, the NGO said.
Kosar Khoshnoudikia, a member of Iran’s national archery team, lost an eye after taking part in a protest in December in the city of Kermanshah.
“We don’t have enough data yet, but I feel that girls are over-represented among those whose eyes have been targeted,” said IHR director Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam.
Asked directly about the matter, the commander of the special police, Hassan Karami, told the Hamshahri newspaper that the security forces’ priority was “not to harm the demonstrators”.
“I have so much confidence in the ability of the police that I have said several times that I will offer a reward to anyone who can prove that someone was killed because of an error by our team,” he said.
According to the IHR, security forces killed at least 488 people during the crackdown on protests that broke out in September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who had been detained for allegedly violating the dress code for women in Iran. .