"On June 22, while we were shouting 'Allahu Akbar' from the rooftops, the only form of protests we could still undertake, the Basiji entered our neighborhood and started firing live rounds into the air, in the direction of the buildings from which they believe the shouting of 'Allahu Akbar' is coming from. I didn't see any rounds hitting our buildings. Shortly thereafter, my cousin arrived at our apartment. He was very shaken. The Basijis had entered their house in Yousef Abad neighborhood, and they had destroyed their doors and destroyed cars in the street.
"There are many things happening that aren't being reported [in the media]. In every neighborhood of Tehran, people are talking about how the Basijis and other security services are coming into their houses and are terrorizing people for shouting 'Allahu Akbar' from the rooftops, and for congregating."
A second witness, a woman from the affluent Velenjak neighborhood in northern Tehran, gave a similar account of Basiji attacks in her neighborhood on the night of June 23:
"Last night [June 23], the Basijis entered our neighborhood to intimidate those who were shouting 'Allahu Akbar' from their rooftops. They started kicking down doors, and when they couldn't succeed, they would climb over the garden walls and open the interior doors. When they entered the homes, they beat the residents. The neighbors took to cursing the Basijis and throwing stones at them to divert them from beating the residents, but then the Basijis attacked those neighbors' houses and tried to enter them."
A third witness told Human Rights Watch how he had witnessed Basijis attacking private homes where they believed protesters had fled to escape attack:
"In my neighborhood, downtown Tehran, there were protesters who escaped into people's homes when the Basijis chased them. The Basijis who were chasing them then knocked harshly on the doors. The residents were too afraid to open the doors. Then the Basijis sprayed a mark on the door with spray paint. A few minutes later, they came back and attacked the marked houses, breaking down the doors and entering them. They beat the owners, and broke the windows in the house and of their cars."
Human Rights Watch has collected similar accounts of violent nighttime raids by the Basij and other security forces in neighborhoods throughout Tehran, including Niavaran, Farmaneih, Saadat Abad, Shahrak Gharb, and Vanak Square.
"Five policemen knocked on the door of our apartment building. People went to open the door and asked them what they wanted. The police said they wanted to come and destroy the satellite dishes on the rooftop. The landlord asked them if they had any permission documents to do this. The policemen replied that there was no need for any documents because the stairs and the rooftops aren't private property; they are common (shared) property. Then they threatened the landlord, 'If you want us to go get permission documents, we'll come back later with them, but then we will also search the apartments as well.' They were trying to intimidate the landlord, so he let them in. Then they went to the rooftop and threw the dishes into the street. The landlord told me they behaved so harshly with him there was no room to complain."
"After clamping down on the local media and expelling foreign correspondents, Iran's security forces are now trying to shut down people's access to foreign news," said Whitson. "Clearly, they don't want their own citizens to know what is actually happening inside Iran today."
Human Rights Watch called upon the authorities to ensure that everyone whose property had been destroyed by security forces received compensation in full.
To view stark footage of what appear to be Basiji night raids, please visit the following:
Note: These videos are
consistent with what Human Rights Watch has documented in other cases. While
Human Rights Watch believes that the videos are reliable, it cannot
independently verify them at this time.
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Iran, please visit here.
... Payvand News - 06/28/09 ... --