Thursday, July 16, 2009

245 Protesters Killed to Date in Iran

See Methodology Below - Edit: July 19th

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has just stated that the number of demonstrators killed during protests in Iran far exceeds government reports.

We present results of a methodical evaluation of news reports, showing a high likelyhood that between 245 protesters and 285 have died to date. The upper range of the fatalities is up to 485 deaths with low confidence. We also conclude there has been a systematic plan to conceal fatalities. A plan which was in place even before the killings began:

Sea Of Green Radio News:
Wednesday 15th July, 2009 at Midnight Tehran time.

Regime's Protester Fatalities Concealment Plan:
  • Allow around 35% of fatalities to enter hospitals.
  • Hide 65% of the bodies in IRGC morgues / cold-store locations.
  • Severely restrict information on detainees to make families think missing family members are detained and not dead.
  • Very slowly allow the concealed bodies to enter Iran's normal death statistics, by pressuring families to agree to dub the deaths accidental or by natural causes.

Our Protester Death Total Methodology:
  • Estimate deaths in Tehran from news accounts and unofficial hospital counts.
  • Estimate deaths outside Tehran using media reports of the severity of repression outside the capital. Allow for poor reporting of deaths outside Tehran area.
  • Include deaths both by shooting and torture / ill-treatment in detention.
  • Allow that maximum concealment would have been in the capital -where media presence and strong public communications systems made secrecy more vital.
  • Factor in that reports say relatives are perusing large numbers of photos of corpses when trying to identify missing relatives who may be deceased.
  • Allow for exaggeration and bias in reports.
See Also:
More on Methodology
The graph (v1.1) shows the cumulative confidence in the underlying news reports supporting a fatality total.

For example a single news report might say that some number of protesters were shot in, say Shiraz. How reliable is that source or news organization? Have their other reports been later confirmed by other known high confidence news orgs? How many other reports are there which reference Shiraz fatalities? What's is the overasll confidence in the acumulated reports?

Or take the Le Figaro article detailing an interview with two Iranian doctors who fled to France. The article said they claim that an unofficial tally by medical staff in Tehran counted 92 fatalities in Tehran area hospitals. What other claims were made by the doctors in that article? Did those claims turn out to be substantial or not? How does a claim of 92 fatalities in the Tehran area meshwith other news reports of hospital fatalities?

And so on. Slowly building a picture of the true number of fatalities --which is weighted to reflect the confidence in the underlying reports. We've been building the underlying data for the last month. It would take weeks to write it all up as a formal report. For now, we can just present the conclusions.

The UK, Guardian catches up with this story.
Hundreds may have died in Iranian clashes after poll, say human rights campaigners

Woman claims to have seen piles of corpses,
as tension rises in Tehran over Rafsanjani speech

Robert Tait - - 16 July 2009 14.19 BST

Hundreds more people may have died in Iran's post-election unrest than the authorities have admitted, amid allegations that the death toll has been obscured by hiding victims' bodies in secret morgues.

Human rights campaigners say anecdotal evidence suggests the number of demonstrators killed in clashes with government forces after last month's poll was far higher than the official death toll of 20 and may amount to a "massacre".

Suspicions have been fuelled after one woman described seeing corpses piled on top of each other in a refrigeration depot while searching for a missing relative. Another woman was shown pictures of between 50 and 60 people, all said to have died, while searching for her son.

The claims came as Tehran prepares for another day of tension tomorrow when the influential former president Hashemi Rafsanjani addresses Friday prayers at Tehran University. Hardline supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – who was controversially re-elected in the election on 12 June that opponents say was "stolen" – have threatened to disrupt the event, at which Rafsanjani is expected to speak in support of his ally Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated reformist candidate, who will attend the event.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran accused the government of obfuscating casualty numbers by frightening victims' families into silence. The true picture had emerged from hospital statistics and testimony from families who refused to keep quiet, it said.

"It's hard to put a figure on it because most of the families involved are scared to talk," Aaron Rhodes of the campaign told the Guardian. "But if you put together the evidence of the families that have spoken, along with eyewitness reports and data from hospitals, there could be well over a hundred fatalities."

The campaign said that on 20 June – the day after Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that the demonstrations must stop – three Tehran hospitals placed a total of 34 dead demonstrators in their morgues.

The authorities put that day's fatalities at 11. Doctors have reported being stopped from signing death certificates by military commanders, who then ordered the corpses removed.

The security forces have acknowledged carrying out more than 2,000 arrests during the crackdown on the mass protests against Ahmadinejad's re-election. Some detainees have been released but many are still unaccounted for.

The Norooz website – linked to Iran's largest reformist party, the Islamic Participation Front – described how a mother searching for her missing child was sent to a facility normally used for preserving fruit and dairy produce on the outskirts of Tehran. After leafing through a photograph album of presumed victims, she was shown into a room containing what she described as "hundreds" of dead bodies. "Although I didn't find my child's body, on seeing all those corpses dumped on top of each other, I passed out," the unnamed woman said.

Mousavi showed solidarity with relatives of the dead earlier this week when he visited the home of Sohrab Aarabi, 19, whose body was recovered nearly a month after he died of gunshot wounds at a mass demonstration in Tehran on 15 June.

Aarabi's mother, Parvin Fahimi – a member of an organisation called Mothers for Peace – has described how after weeks of searching for her son she was summoned by a revolutionary court and shown pictures of between 50 and 60 people, all said to have died. The pictures included Sohrab, whom she had previously thought might be in detention.

Some families have reported being harassed into signing pledges agreeing that their loved ones died accidentally or of natural causes. Others say they have been forced to declare that the victims belonged to the Basij militia, which was used to suppress the demonstrations.

In one case, a family reported receiving their son's corpse encased in concrete to hide signs of injuries.

No comments:

Post a Comment