Father of Bystander Killed during Protests Seeks Accountability
Farzad Ansarifar, a 27-year-old construction worker who was killed on November 16 in the city of Behbahan in Khuzestan Province, was struck by a bullet behind his head even though he was only a bystander at a protest against the increase in the price of gasoline, his father told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Farzad was my first son. He was a good kid,” Amin Ansarifar, Farzad’s father, said. “He was a hard worker and didn’t have a problem with anyone. He laid tiles and kept to himself and didn’t bother anyone. They shot my innocent son; he wasn’t part of the protests. The people in the front, who were destroying property and setting them on fire, were not shot but they shot my son who was only looking on or just passing by. He was way in the back, behind where all the trouble was taking place.”
Amin Ansarifar, who still has shrapnel in his body from the time he fought in the Iran-Iraq war, added: “I gave my health for my country but now I don’t know what to say. Farzad was shot in the back of the head in Shiraz Square near our house. I’m aware that two brothers were also shot there.”
“When my son didn’t show up, I went to the place where the clashes had taken place and I was told that shots had been fired. Farzad’s friends said he had been shot. The next say I went to the Medical Examiner’s Officer and they told me his body had been transferred to Ahvaz, along with the bodies of those two brothers.
“When I went to take delivery of my son’s body, they didn’t bother me. They didn’t take money from me and they didn’t ask me to sign a pledge. Actually, they were very cooperative. They sent his body from Ahvaz and delivered him to us in Behbahan.”
He added: “They didn’t give us a certificate of death. The bullet hit my son in the back of his head and came out above his eyebrow. When we made inquiries, they only told that the bullet was from a Kalashnikov machine gun.”
“I’m trying to file a complaint only to prove my son’s innocence,” Ansarifar continued. “My son was at work. He had shut down at one o’clock in the afternoon to come home when he was hit behind the head. I don’t know who shot him but I want the killer to be revealed.”
Iranian authorities have not said how many people died during nationwide protests that gripped the country for several days after an increase in the price of rationed gasoline was announced on November 15.
On December 2, Amnesty International said at least 208 people had been killed. However, the opposition news site, Kalameh, has put the number of deaths at 366.
In a statement on November 19, CHRI condemned the use of excessive force against protestors.
“The security forces in Iran are beating, arresting and killing citizens who have come out into the streets to protest in order to terrify people into returning to their homes and silence dissent,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.