The Week in Review: March 10th – March 17th

March 17  – Children as young as 12 have been subjected to rape, electric shocks, beatings and flogging by Iran officials in order to frighten children into preventing them from taking part in the country’s anti-government protests, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The human rights watchdog said Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), its Basij military unit, and other security and intelligence forces tortured and sexually assaulted boys and girls in custody to “punish and humiliate” them, and to extract forced confessions.

Amnesty said that the evidence it had gathered suggested thousands of children caught up in the protests had been detained. It called on the Iranian government to release every child taken just for protesting peacefully.

An activist on hunger strike in London told the British government that it was in a “race against time” to blacklist Iran’s IRGC, following accusations that the elite military unit was responsible for targeting journalists and opposition members in England.

Vahid Beheshti — who is currently striking outside the British Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office in Whitehall — said he would remain on hunger strike until the UK agreed to list the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

Several lawmakers in the British parliament called for the IRGC to be listed, in a debate held on Tuesday, while former detainee and dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe also made the call on the anniversary of her release from Iran’s Evin Prison.

And 110 people were arrested by Iranian officials over a mysterious spate of poisonings in schools which affected more than 7,000 girls.

Reports from Iran’s media outlets this week suggested that the attacks had seen a sharp increase, and may be linked to groups or individuals who did not want to see girls in education.

The cause of the attacks and the means by which they are being carried out remain unknown.

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