Amnesty International has conducted further research into the 40mm “less lethal” grenades killing protesters during the recent violence in Baghdad. The new analysis showed that, in addition to the Serbian Sloboda Ĉaĉak M99 grenades already identified, a significant portion of the deadly projectiles are in fact M651 tear gas grenades and M713 smoke grenades manufactured by the Defense Industries Organization (DIO) of Iran.
The Bulgarian company Arsenal has sold grenades and other arms to Iraq, including hand-thrown smoke grenades used during the recent protests in Baghdad. However, Amnesty International misattributed the provenance of some of the 40mm grenades in our original press release. We have corrected this in the text below.
Since first publishing our findings on 31 October, Amnesty International has reviewed and verified video evidence of four additional deaths caused by the Serbian and Iranian grenades and has received a significant number of additional photos of the weapons, via sources on the ground. It was through analysing this new evidence that Amnesty International was able to make this identification.
Amnesty International does not have information on the identities of the security forces firing these Iranian M651 and M713 grenades in Baghdad.
The deadly grenades must be recalled from use immediately. There should be an independent, impartial and transparent investigation into their use and into other cases of unlawful killings and injuries during the protests, with any security forces responsible for excessive use of force held to account.
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The Iraqi authorities must ensure anti-riot police and other security forces in Baghdad immediately stop using two previously unseen types of tear gas grenade to kill rather than disperse protesters, Amnesty International urged today after its investigation found they caused at least five protester deaths in as many days.
Amnesty International carried out telephone and email interviews with numerous eyewitnesses, reviewed medical records and consulted medical professionals in Baghdad as well as an independent forensic pathologist about the horrific injuries caused by these grenades since 25 October.
The organization’s Digital Verification Corps geolocated and analyzed video evidence from near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square documenting the fatalities and injuries – including charred flesh and “smoking” head wounds. Its military expert identified the types of tear gas grenades being used as two variants from Bulgaria and Serbia that are modelled on military grenades and are up to 10 times as heavy as standard tear gas canisters, resulting in horrific injuries and death when fired directly at protesters.