One year has elapsed since Zahedan’s Bloody Friday. On the 30th of September last year, a horrifying act of violence occurred in Zahedan, Iran, an incident that continues to haunt every advocate of freedom. Unarmed Iranian worshipers, returning from Friday prayers, were suddenly and mercilessly attacked by security forces. These defenseless individuals were peacefully protesting against the sexual assault of a 15-year-old Baloch girl by a police station commander the previous month. Their demand was clear and wholly justified: the police commander responsible for such a grievous act must be held accountable for his actions.
Instead of addressing this legitimate plea for justice, the government responded with brute force. Bullets rained down on these peaceful protestors from security forces on the ground, snipers positioned on nearby rooftops, and even machine gun fire from helicopters overhead. In this heinous act, more than 120 people lost their life, and over 300 were injured, many of them children and teenagers.
Under the Article 27 of the Iranian constitution, unarmed civil demonstrations are a recognized right that requires no permit. The citizens of Zahedan were merely exercising this constitutional right, advocating for justice and accountability. The assault on them, without any prior warning, is a gross violation of their rights.
This pre-planned massacre by the regime who are supporting the perpetrators, is in fact the continuation of the religious and ethnic discrimination policy of the ruling Shia clerics in Iran, which has been carried out against Sunni citizens throughout Iran for more than four decades.
A year has passed since this dark day, and yet, those responsible remain unnamed and unpunished. Unpunished crime creates new disaster and justice remains elusive. The depth of this tragedy echoes the gravest of crimes in history, bearing the hallmarks of both genocide and crimes against humanity.
As we commemorate the first anniversary of this painful incident, the International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights invites all Iranian citizens, around the world raise their collective voice against this horrific crime.
The International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights appeals to democratic governments, international organisations, human rights groups, civil and political activists, and all those who champion the cause of justice, to stand in solidarity with the victims of this terrible crime.
Since this egregious violation of Human Rights cannot and should not be viewed with indifference by the global community, the International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights urges an international investigation into this tragic crime, inviting all stakeholders to scrutinize the circumstances of this crime thoroughly. We believe that this case merits attention at the highest international judicial platforms, including The International Criminal Court.
The world must not remain silent. It is our fervent hope that such a tragedy is never repeated, and the only way to ensure this is through unwavering commitment to justice and accountability.
In memory of the innocent lives lost in Zahedan, we call for unity, justice, and international cooperation. Let their sacrifice be a beacon that guides us towards a world where rights are respected, and justice prevails.
The International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights
London, Brussels, Berlin, Toronto, Washington
29th September 2023