While they have not provided a breakdown of how many of those detained were children, state media reported that children comprised a significant portion of protesters.
Based on testimonies of dozens of detainees from across the country who witnessed security forces detaining scores of children, coupled with the fact that children and youth have been at the forefront of protests, Amnesty International estimates that thousands of children could have been among those swept up in the wave of arrests.
The report reveals that arrested children were taken to detention centers run by various government agencies, where they were often subjected to incommunicado detention, torture, and other forms of abuse. Most of the children arrested over the past six months appear to have been released, sometimes on bail pending investigations or referral to trial.
Amnesty International’s findings also indicate that state agents used rape and other sexual violence, including electric shocks to genitals, touching genitals, and rape threats, as a weapon against child detainees to break their spirits, humiliate and punish them, and/or extract “confessions.” This pattern is also widely reported by adult women and men detainees.
Other forms of torture recounted include beatings, floggings, administering electric shocks using stun guns, the forced administration of unidentified pills, and holding children’s heads underwater.
State agents also used psychological torture, including death threats, to punish and intimidate children and/or compel them to make forced “confessions.” Children were held in cruel and inhuman detention conditions, including extreme overcrowding, poor access to toilet and washing facilities, deprivation of sufficient food and potable water, exposure to extreme cold, and prolonged solitary confinement.
The report highlights the urgent need for Iran to put an end to these egregious violations of children’s rights and to hold those responsible accountable.
The international community must also step up efforts to hold Iran accountable for these human rights abuses. The world cannot remain silent in the face of such atrocities, and urgent action must be taken to protect the rights and dignity of all people, including children, in Iran.
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