Extrajudicial killings: Iranian regime’s crime that always go unpunished

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20 Aug 2018

According to human rights activists, Sajad Zergani, 22, was shot dead by the security force for not complying with police order to stop for search in Ahwaz city. He died after receiving a gunshot in his right leg on 16 August 2018.

According to his family, Sajad dropped out of education before finishing high school. He had been working in Mashhad city for hotel industry and interpreting for clients from Arab countries who come to visit Iran. Sajad had been travelling from Mashhad to see his mother in Ahwaz every two or three months. He used to spend one week with his mother. As a young man, Sajad loved picking outfit, enjoyed going out with friends and having fun.

On 16 August, Sajad spent his time with friends and stayed with them at night in a house in Zergan district. In the morning around 7 AM, he was offered a ride on a Peugeot car to his mother’s house in Medan (Koresh) district which is only 5 minutes away. Sajad and his friend stopped in Forth Street and got off their car in an empty yard where they were approached by the security forces from the Police Station Number 18.

Regardless of the reason why Sajad and his fellow friend were on that location in the morning, it is illegal for the police officers to use firearms against unarmed civilians. However, the security personnel asked them to stop. But they did not comply with the order and tried to escape on feet. While traying to jump to the other side of a wall, Sajad was wounded in the right leg and died as a result of heavy bleeding on the scene. According to eyewitnesses, the security forces left the wounded young man to bleed without giving him first aid or calling ambulance service for help. Meanwhile, the security personnel were busy gathering statements and signatures from the local residents and passers-by. They told people that the wounded young man is a criminal. At the time, the ambulance arrived at the scene and Sajad was pronounced dead and taken directly to Legal Medicine Department in Ahwaz.

Sajad’s friend was able to escape and survived from certain death after being shot multiple times by the security forces. However, his family took him to the Police Station Number 18 and turned him in to the security forces later on. He was hospitalised and subsequently was arrested by the Intelligence personnel from the hospital. Then he was taken to unknown destination. His family were not informed of his whereabouts. When they contacted the Police Station Number 18 for information, the security forces denied knowing anything about the detainee in question.

Based on a report from Sajad family, at around 06:30 PM an unknown individual informed them about the incident. Therefore, more than 80 people including family and friends gathered in front of the Police Station Number 18 and demanded answer for this killing. The personnel in the police station denied the incident. Therefore, the family of the victim went to the Police Criminal Investigation Department in Ahwaz and were informed about the killing. The family returned to the Police Station Number 18. And they found there are special forces positioned in and outside the police station, ready to stop the grieved locals. Nonetheless, the family were informed that the body of the victim arrived at the Legal Medicine Department in Ahwaz at 9 AM for forensic investigation. However, the perpetrators are still unknown to the victim’s family but the officials told them that they will investigate the killing.

In addition, the family of the victim haired a lawyer to initiate legal proceedings against the perpetrator(s) to get justice for extrajudicial killing of Sajad Zergani by the security forces.

According to international law, it is the responsibility of the state to protect and promote human rights of the citizens including protecting the right to life, liberty and security of all individuals [1] from the violations committed by police and security forces. The extrajudicial killing of Ahwazi civilians by Iranian forces is unlawful act and constitutes a violation of international law. The Iranian state should undertake effective measures to prevent such casualties perpetrated by its security personnel in Ahwaz.

References

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, GA Res 2200A (XXI), 16 December 1966.

By Abdulrahman Hetteh

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