On 16 September 2022, Niloofar Hamedi, a journalist at reformist daily newspaper Shargh in Tehran, posted a picture to her Twitter account of a couple hugging while crying in front of their daughter’s hospital room, Mahsa Jina Amini. The 22-year-old died later that day.
The death of Amini sparked the on-going protests in Iran, which are currently in their eighth week. They are the longest and most widespread protests the country had seen since the Islamic revolution in 1979 when Shah Pahlavi was ousted by the first Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), Ayatollah Khomeini.
When the Aban atrocity took place, nobody ever thought that a Tribunal would be held after two years to bring to justice those responsible. You are putting [them] on trial. While they are not accountable, and we have to cover our faces to testify here, I’m sure that one day, they will have to cover their faces, and our positions will change.
Witness before the Aban Tribunal
From the 10th to the 14th of November 2021, the Iran Atrocities Tribunal, also known as “Aban Tribunal,” in reference to the month in which the nationwide protests erupted, convened in London. “Aban” is the month in the Persian calendar, in which the nationwide protests erupted and partially corresponds to November and is the term widely used by victim-survivors to refer to the bloody protests that left thousands of Iranians dead, severely injured, arrested and detained, with a significant number facing torture, inhumane and/ or degrading treatment in prison. The Tribunal is the latest offspring amongst a continuous trend of International People’s Tribunals emerging over the last few years alone. Other notable People’s Tribunals focusing on gross human rights abuses include The Iran Tribunal (2012), The Uyghur Tribunal (2020-2022), The China Tribunal (2018-2020) and the ongoing People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists (2021-2022).