Shiraz Protests: “They Killed Our Boy with a Bullet on Our Own Street”
Family Ordered to Conceal Shiraz Man’s Death at Protest
Iranian authorities pressured the family of Bahman Jafari, who died from a bullet wound to his heart on November 17, 2019, while state forces were trying to crush a protest in the city of Shiraz, to lie about his cause of death, Jafari’s cousin told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
Members of the Jafari family were also told to sign pledges of silence, and the authorities banned the family from holding a traditional funeral ceremony to evade responsibility for the young man’s loss of life, according to his cousin Dina Jafari.
“Our grandfather, uncles and the other men in our family proudly took part in the revolution and the war and defended this country during all the things that have happened,” she said.
“Is this what we get in return? They killed our boy with a bullet on our own street,” she added. “The family demands the identity of the killer be revealed.”
The 28-year-old computer science graduate did not belong to a political organization and came from a family that has made many sacrifices for Iran, Dina Jafari said.
Following is a transcript of her statements to CHRI from an interview conducted on December 12.
Bahman, like all other young people in our society, wanted freedom. He did not belong to any group or political organization. He always questioned why so many young people were unemployed in a country with so much wealth.
Bahman was shot at the crossroads by the Adelabad Prison, near his family’s home. An acquaintance saw what happened and informed his family. He was alive when he was put in an ambulance, but he didn’t make it to the hospital.
Before releasing the body [five days after his death], the authorities demanded lots of pledges and signatures to prevent the family from speaking to the media… They put a lot of pressure on them to make them say he had not been shot by the police or the military. They wanted them to say he had died in an accident or something like that.
The authorities also refused to allow the family to hold a funeral ceremony for him. We are from the Bakhtiari tribe and traditionally our funerals are very elaborate, but only direct relatives were present at the burial.
One of Bahman’s uncles, who is my uncle as well, is a veteran [of the Iran-Iraq war]. He is 80 percent disabled. More than a third of his skull is artificial and his body is full of shrapnel. He is in a resting home for veterans. He fought for his country for many years until he couldn’t leave the hospital bed.
Bahman’s own father worked for the [National Iranian] Oil Company in Abadan and remained there during all the war years without asking for a transfer. Our grandfather, uncles and other men in our family proudly took part in the revolution and the war and defended the country during all the things that have happened. Is this what we get in return? They killed our boy with a bullet on our own street.
According to Amnesty International, at least 208 people died during violent state repression of protests that exploded throughout Iran between November 15-December 2 after the government announced a steep gasoline price hike.
Read this article in Persian.