Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) forces beat and fatally shot four border porters or “kolbars” in Iran’s western border region.
According to human rights groups the four men were ambushed without warning.
On September 2, a 25-year-old father of one, Zanest Hassannejad, 22-year-old Zanko Ahmadi and Suroush Malekari were initially arrested by the regime’s border forces. An informed source told Javaneha Human Rights Website that the three men were brutally beaten and then shot execution-style with three bullets each. The report said that the signs of beatings were evident on their bodies. The bodies have yet to be handed over to their families for burial.
Another border porter identified as 40-year-old Jalal Khezri was killed by the IRGC’s border forces in Piranshahr. His body has also not been given to his family. Jalal was the father of three children.
The Hengaw Human Rights Organization Statistics and Documentation Center reported that at least four kolbars were killed while 18 were wounded in Iran’s western border region as the result of direct fire by border forces. Two other kolbars were injured after being brutally beaten by the regime’s forces.
According to Hengaw, from 2016 to July 2020, at least 937 Kurd kolbars were injured or killed.
Kolbars are workers who are hired to carry heavy loads across the border for a meager pay. Due to the lack of economic development, increasing poverty and unemployment in western Iran, more and more Iranians are forced to take up this dangerous and harsh occupation. The regime categorizes kolbars as “smugglers” and routinely shoots and kills them.
If not killed by security forces, kolbars die from avalanches, falling off mountains, hyperthermia, and hypothermia.
Many kolbars are university graduates and several are national athletes who have been forced into the life-threatening job for a meager pay.