Human Lives Human Rights: From November 10th to 14th, London witnessed a judicial event named “Aban tribunal” which investigated the killing of Iranian citizens in November 2019 Street clashes in the capital and several other cities of Iran. Despite the great efforts and full coverage of this event by the Persian-language satellite networks, analysis show that a significant part of the media goals particularly meant for this event were not achieved.
In a surprise move, the Iranian government cut off the subsidies on fossil fuels for transportation and people took to the streets to protest ultimately leading to clashes, which resulted in the destruction of gas stations, banks and other government facilities.
The Iranian regime claimed that gunmen were present among the demonstrators, leading the protesters towards violence, who even attacked police stations, and in order to tackle this they started firing on them. On the other hand, the demonstrators and critics claim that the police used unusual violence and that is why the astounding number of deaths were reported in the media.
Reuters reported the death toll was over 1,500. Later, Amnesty International announced the death toll as 304 and released a list of alleged victims of street clashes.
The Iranian regime has never officially made this clear, but during interviews and unofficial comments by some officials, a maximum number of 234 deaths were announced, this was followed by interviews of the people who were earlier mentioned on the Amnesty International’s list of victims of the November 2019 events, but they declared that they were alive! Also, some details other than the date, place and cause of death of some of the people mentioned in this list seriously pulled down the authenticity of Amnesty International’s list.
During the trial, the witnesses whose statements were heard by the court, provided shocking reports from the scene of the clashes, which, if proven, could cause serious trouble for the authorities. However, most of these witnesses, claiming security considerations for not disclosing their identities, could have given statements with their faces covered and without revealing the identity. Also, during the trial, the witnesses did not have a convincing and defensible response to the additional questions regarding the details of their statements, which is one of the reasons, why the court was not taken very seriously.
Although, the organizers of the Aban tribunal, or the main members of the Iranian regime’s opposition in the West, are facing issues of legitimacy in Iran due to financial aid and projects they receive from their Western supporters, by avoiding to expose and accuse each other to gain a greater share of Western financial resources, they can follow more effective methods and channels to bring about change in Iran that can bring back their lost credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion and even the opposition.