Two men in Sardasht northwestern Iran were shot and killed by security forces yesterday. The two men were dodging bullets, when they fell off the cliff and drowned in a river.
According to Kurdpa, a Kurdistan news website, the two men were identified as Abubakr Mohammadi, 36-years-old, and Eskandar Mohammad, 35-years-old.
Abubakr was married and father to one child, and Mohammad was married father of two. An informed source said the security forces suspected the two of smuggling goods and opened fire on them. Their bodies were recovered by locals.
This is not an isolated case. Security forces and police in the northwestern and western borders of Iran open fire with impunity, injuring and killing innocent border porters or “kolbars” struggling to make ends meet by carrying heavy loads over the border.
Border porters or 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 Iranian Kurds are forced to take up this dangerous and harsh occupation. The Iranian 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.
Last week, border police raided homes on in Baneh County in western Iran, shooting and injuring three Kurd men. According to the Hengaw Organization, the border police were searching for goods meant to be carried by Kurd border porters or kolbars across the border.
On February 8, a kolbar was killed while driving by direct police fire in Salmas, northwestern Iran. According to the Hengaw Organization, police shot and killed 37-year-old Behzad Hashemi. Behzad was married and father to three children. An informed source said police opened fire on Behzad’s car, under the suspicion that he was carrying smuggled goods. Behzad died at the scene of the shooting.
There were three other arbitrary shootings in early February.
Khaled Ahmadpour was shot and killed in Iran’s western border. He was married and lived in a village in Sardasht, western Iran. He was the sole breadwinner for his two children and wife.
On February 3, security forces opened fire on two people riding a motorcycle in Saravan in southeastern Iran. One man was killed while the other person who was identified as his niece/nephew was injured. In Minab, southern Iran, security forces shot without warning at a man identified as Khalil Sarmasti while he was driving. He was carrying fuel and his car caught on fire leading to his death.
The Iranian regime’s security forces and police have a history of shooting and killing civilians. 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.
An annual report by a human rights group said that at least 204 Iranian citizens were directly or indirectly killed or wounded by Iran’s state security forces in 2020.According to the report, at least 74 citizens were killed, including 36 kolbars, 5 fuel carriers and 33 other citizens. The 2020 arbitrary shootings injured at least 130 people.