Mid-November last year, protests broke out in Iran. The protests were sparked by the regime’s announcement that petrol prices would be dramatically increasing.
The Iranian regime, in its weakened position following increased international pressure, responded to the protests with great force – hoping that they would not intensify and spread across the country.
Thousands of people arrested, thousands seriously injured and more than a thousand killed as a result of police brutality.
It was reported recently that a young protester that was wounded during the protests in November has died from his injuries. Mohammad Maleki, a 23-year-old protester, was shot by the state security forces. The bullets paralysed the young man and he was transferred to hospital. Mr Maleki became a father a mere two weeks before he died.
It is believed that more than four thousand protesters were injured after being hit by pellet guns or live ammunition. Security forces took some of the injured protesters to hospitals or medical centres, but they warned the staff not to register their names or leave any record of their visit.
Even more shockingly, many of the protesters that went to hospital were taken away to unknown places by security forces before being properly treated for their injuries.
The people of Iran have pulled together, as they always have done in times of crisis. Many injured protesters were fearful of going to a hospital or clinic for fear of being arrested there. This left many people with serious injuries hoping for the best and avoiding professional medical attention. This has resulted in many people dying from their injuries that could have easily been treated at hospitals. For example, many died from infections.
However, it was reported that medical students and doctors volunteered to treat wounded people off their own backs.
The passing of Mohammad Maleki is just one example of countless tragedies that families across Iran face. Mr Maleki’s family have not just had to deal with the death of their beloved family member, but they have also had to deal with the security forces and their intimidation with regards to laying his body to rest.
Upon his passing, the doctor that visited to establish the death certificate contacted the police, who subsequently transferred his body to a forensic medicine facility so that an autopsy could be carried out. The family did not consent to this but had no choice faced with the pressure that they were put under. During this time, the police had sent four plain clothed agents to monitor the Maleki family home.
The family were told that Mohammad would be declared a martyr if an autopsy was permitted. They said his body would be returned to the family for burial. Failing this, they said the family would have no choice but to bury Mohammad at night.
Human rights organisations are very concerned about the treatment of protesters in Iran. They have called on the regime to allow the people the right to expression and urge the regime to release all imprisoned protesters.