Father of Iranian Protester Appeals to UN

  • Pouya Bakhtiari was one of the many protesters who were killed in the violent crackdown on protests in November 2009.
  • In this three-page letter, Manouchehr Bakhtiari referred to the law-breaking actions of the officials of Iran.
  • He said he did not trust Iran's judiciary.

Manouchehr Bakhtiari, the father of Pouya Bakhtiari, one of the victims of last November’s protests, has called for an independent inquiry into international institutions, including the United Nations human rights body, on the “deadly violence of the Iranian government against protesters.”

Pouya Bakhtiari was an Iranian protester who was shot and killed on 16 November 2019 in Karaj during the 2019 Iranian protests. His death and his parents’ reaction garnered nationwide attention.

He recently addressed Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, on Monday. Pouya was one of the many protesters who were killed in the violent crackdown on protests in November 2009.

“Suppressing the mid-November protests in Iran was the deadliest repression of critics in the streets since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979,” he has stressed in his letter to the UN. Manouchehr Bakhtiari’s letter was sent to a number of human rights activists around the world, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, before the start of the forty-fourth session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The text of this letter has now been published by the website of the Iran Human Rights Campaign. In this three-page letter, Manouchehr Bakhtiari referred to the law-breaking actions of the officials of the Islamic Republic.

Manouchehr Bakhtiari, referring to the Iranian government’s failure to respond and the lack of accurate information on the violent crackdown on protests in November last year, has called on the United Nations to appoint a team to investigate the crackdown.

Manouchehr Bakhtiari’s Letters

In this letter, Pouya Bakhtiari’s father deals with his personal experience as a “bereaved father.” He said he did not trust Iran’s judiciary. Manouchehr Bakhtiari said that when he went to the forensic medicine in Karaj to pick up his son’s body, he noticed the extent of the violence against the protesters. Mr. Bakhtiari also referred to the authorities’ refusal to hand over his son’s body and said that 144 bodies had been found in the Karaj forensic medicine.

“Since [Pouya’s death] the Bureau of Inquiries, part of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, has repeatedly threatened our family by telephone,” he said. “I am frankly afraid that they may seek to silence us completely by any means possible,” the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative has cited Bakhtiari as saying in his petition to the UN.

The 2019–2020 Iranian protests were a series of nationwide civil protests in Iran, initially caused by a 50%–300% increase in fuel prices, and (in some areas) leading to calls for the overthrow of the government in Iran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. As many as 1,500 Iranian protesters were killed.

According to Pouya Bakhtiari’s father, forensic medicine has avoided delivering the bodies of the victims of the crackdown to their families. He referred to the order of the Ministry of Interior of Iran to transfer the bodies to Tehran and bury them in that city.

Bakhtiari also pointed to the Islamic Republic’s officials’ refusal to hold public mourning, and said that his legal pursuit of an explanation for his son’s death had been difficult for him and other members of his family.

In a letter to Michelle Bachelet and other human rights activists, she wrote about holding the 40th Pouya Ceremony with all her family members and “Pouya’s mother, her sister, her two uncles, and even her 11-year-old cousin.” He said “they were blindfolded and taken to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj in separate cars and detained for two days to a month.”

Bakhtiari has emphasized that the “critical dialogue” with the government of the Islamic Republic has not yet led to a response from the government. He called on the international community to hold the Iranian government accountable and to conduct an independent investigation into the deadly crackdown on protests, paving the way for future trials of perpetrators and perpetrators of such acts.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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