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Sunday, June 26, 2022

“Either Death or Life!” – Protests, Strikes, Crackdown

Shopkeepers strike and retirees protests continueIslamic Republic...
Arezou Saaberi
Arezou Saaberi
There comes a time in life when you have to choose whether to turn the page or to close the book!

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Iranshahr, Friday, February 26, 2021: The Islamic Republic police opened fire on the protesters of the fuel carriers (traders)’ massacre at Shamsar Saravan border checkpoint. A number of protesting citizens were shot. One of them is Yahya.

Yahya Shekl-Zehi was shot in leg and wounded by repressive forces that day. Together with two other citizens, he took refuge in a mosque on Ferdowsi Street in Iranshahr. He hides there. The mosque, however, is not a safe haven. IRGC forces discovered the whereabouts of Yahya and two other citizens, beat them, detained them and took them to an unknown location. Yahya’s family and relatives have searched all the medical centers in the city in search of him. To this day, no trace of Yahya has been found.

In Shouru, on February 25, one of the sons of Mullah Hussein, named Omar Shahbakhsh, from the “Shahbakhsh” tribe, was shot three times during the firing of IRGC agents on protesters: two bullets in hand and one in leg. His fellow tribesmen are chased by IRGC agents when they take him to the hospital. Wounded Omar is arrested with hitting batons and violence, Omar tribesmen in their homes. And on February 24, a 14-year-old student in Espich, Saravan named “Danial Saeedi” was shot in leg by a rubber bullet of oppressive officers. Hassan Mohammad-Zehi did not have Daniea’s luck, that same day in Qala-e-Bid; The bullet that killed him was not a rubber bullet. Hassan Mohammad-Zehi, son of Niaz Mohammad, was 13-year-old.

In Saravan, Iranshahr, Kurin, Zahedan in Jakigur, and wherever people protested against the killing of fuel carriers on Monday, February 22 by IRGC forces stationed at the Shamsar Saravan border checkpoint, some were injured, some were detained, and some were both wounded and detained. To date, only a small number of these citizens have been identified, as communication channels are blocked and Internet is still disrupted. Detention of protesting citizens continues in Sistan-Baluchestan. The state media call fuel traders “thugs” and the Judiciary call the protesters “villians.” The Islamic Consultative Assembly (Islamic Republic version of parliament) sends a delegation to Saravan to “closely” assess the situation. A delegation that is so popular and close to people that it is accompanied by two armed battalions to guard them. The published photos of the delegates’ visit show the severity of the “security measures” taken and the proximity of this delegation to the people. Most of the visit took place through the window of a helicopter carrying members of parliament to Saravan. From above and the sky, the situation looks very normal. On the ground, IRGC gunmen took them to an old man’s house, took a few photos under tight security, and that was it. When they returned, they said nothing had happened. One of the barefooted fuel carriers was killed by officers to defend the checkpoint, four were wounded, and the rest was Pakistan’s responsibility. A completely different report from the previous ones!

A witness to the fuel carriers’ massacre, in contact with BBC Persian, describes the incident:

Amnesty International also issued an independent statement yesterday:

“The official justification the Iranian authorities have given for their deadly use of live ammunition reflects their complete disregard for international standards on the use of firearms. It also shows a shameless contempt for their obligations to respect and preserve human life and to ensure that public officials do not carry out extrajudicial executions by illegal use of firearms.

Testimony from eyewitnesses and victims’ families, coupled with video footage geolocated and verified by the organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab, confirms that on that day, Revolutionary Guards, stationed at Shamsar military base, used live ammunition against a group of unarmed fuel porters from Iran’s impoverished Baluchi minority causing several deaths and injuries.”

Amnesty International’s report shows that it has come to a close understanding of the reality of Saravan’s crime. But what is missing in this report is the continuation of this crime in the form of arresting protesting citizens, injured protesters, student citizens and sometimes killing them during the protests against the crime of Shamsar checkpoint. There is a wave of extrajudicial and widespread detentions in Sistan-Baluchestan, and international human rights organizations have remained silent. Experience has shown that the IRGC and Islamic Republic police pursue a pre-arranged plan in dealing with protests: in the first stage, they use maximum violence and brutal killing of protesters, along with widespread propaganda, lying and disinformation campaigns in cyberspace, shutting down Internet and communication lines. Then comes extensive detentions followed by TV shows “20:30 and Without Ta’arof”, airing forced confession documentaries of tortured detainees, issuing of death sentences, floggings, and long-term imprisonment,… Regime’s approach towards Sistan-Baluchestan protests, which we will witness in action soon, is easily predictable. The international community and human rights organizations must be the voice of those who are still alive and held captive by the repressive regime. Before it’s too late.

The Baluch Activists Campaign published the identities of 10 detainees:

  • Mohammad Shahrson-Zehi, son of Kahemdad, from Mehrestan
  • Aziz Shahrson-Zehi, 16-year-old, son of Lahdad, from Mehrestan
  • Mohammad Dorzadeh, son of Abdolghafour, resident of Dezak village
  • Abduljalil Shahbakhsh, son of Mulla Hossein
  • Omar Shahbakhsh, son of Mulla Hossein
  • Zakaria, son of Yar Mohammad, from Shahbakhsh tribe
  • Saeed, son of Yar Mohammad, from Shahbakhsh tribe
  • Yahya Shekl-Zehi
  • Iraj Dehvari, from Saravan
  • AbdulLatif Malekzadeh, from Saravan

6 of the injured have also been identified so far:

  • Behzad Azadi, son of Rasoul, from Mehrestan
  • Edris Baluch-Zehi, son of Hasan, from Bolbol village
  • Mohammad Mendazehi, from Sarjangal, Kurin
  • Salman, son of Jangahan, from Parkan, Saravan
  • AbdulSattar Dehvari, son of Kheir-Mohammad, from Kalpourgan village
  • Hassan Narouei, son of Golmohammad, from Sartakhti village, Bampour county

Translation of this post by Sahar.

Cover: @SingularIRAN

Sistan-Baluchestan: Widespread Oppression & Detentions Continue