Iranian police publicly tortured a young man in the northeastern city of Mashhad. Mehrdad Sepehri passed away in a police car on his way to the hospital.
A video that was widely circulated on social media yesterday showed police pepper-spraying a man at very close range and using a taser to shock him numerous times. The 30-year-old man was handcuffed to a pole by the police and used his bound arms to cover his face.
Speaking to Iran International, his brother said Merhdad’s (ex)wife and father in law called the police following a dispute with Mehrdad. The two police officers, who arrived on motorcycles, arrested Mehrdad Sepehri and handcuffed him to a pole while waiting for a police car to transfer him.
“Eyewitnesses said they saw the police beat my brother for 45 minutes,” Massoud Sepehri said.
According to his brother, Mehrdad was still alive when he was inside the police car where he was “brutalized more than before”.
“He became very weak in the car and the police handed him over to an ambulance without identifying him, but he died on the way to the hospital,” he added.
The body of Mehrdad Sepehri was transferred to Mashhad’s Taleghani Hospital where he was registered without a name. His brother identified him in the hospital morgue. His body had numerous torture marks including on his hands, stomach, chest, neck, and head. The torture and beating marks were also evident in the video.
“His neck was bruised and bleeding,” his brother said adding that a hard object was used to hit his brother on the head and that his wrists were “injured and bloody”.
He said that the forensics department told his family they would register Mehrdad’s death as suffocation from pepper spray.
Police officials in Mashhad said they were “investigating” Mehrdad Sepehri’s death.
The video footage of the police abuse was met with outrage on social media and Iranian Twitter users compared the incident to George Floyd’s death in June 2020, which triggered nationwide protests in the US.
Users lashed out at the hypocrisy of the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, who attacked the US government after George Floyd’s death while ordering his forces to crack down on civil liberties and kill and torture protesters.
The Iranians regime’s security forces and police have a history of shooting and killing civilians.
The most recent cases were that of Kezhvan Almasi, a young Kurd Iranian man who was arrested during a family gathering in Tehran and was shot in a police van, and 17-year-old Ashkan Azizi, shot by the police in Kermanshah western Iran because according to the police, “hid car did not have a license plate”.
There are almost daily reports of police and border guards opening fire on Kurd border porters in western Iran and civilians carrying fuel in southeastern Iran. Iranian security forces carry out these shootings with impunity.
An annual report by a human rights groups said that at least 300 Iranian citizens were directly or indirectly killed or wounded by Iran’s state security forces in 2018.
According to the report, at least 142 reports were published about these incidents which indicate the widespread use of lethal force by Iran’s security forces without due process, which amounts to arbitrary killings.