State Forces Buried Man Killed in Iran Protests Against Families Wishes
Victim Hamid Taheri’s Relatives Forced to Sign “Pledge of Silence”
Hospital authorities in the city of Islamshahr, Tehran Province, transferred the body of Hamid Taheri to state security forces without his family’s permission after he died from a bullet wound on November 16, 2019, his father-in-law, Rahim Ajari, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
The unnamed authorities buried Taheri, a 35-year-old carpenter who had recently become a father, in a cemetery against his relatives’ preferences. His father and brother were also pressured to sign a “pledge” of silence, according to Ajari.
Taheri is one of at least 208 people who died during Iranian state forces’ violent crackdown on protests that broke out in dozens of cities between November 15 and December 2.
The government’s excessive use of lethal force has been widely condemned by international actors including the UN and EU. CHRI has called on the EU to lead calls for the UN to launch a Commission of Inquiry into the state’s crackdown.
Following is a transcript of Ajari’s statements from a December 7, 2019, interview with CHRI:
My daughter and her husband were unable to conceive a child for 10 years. Finally, after a lot of treatment, they had a baby four months ago and were very happy.
On Saturday [November 16], Hamid had gone to buy powdered milk for his child when he was shot by a bullet on his way home on Farsian St. We knew there was unrest outside and could hear gunfire, but we thought the shots were being fired into the air. We never imagined they would shoot directly at people until we got a call that Hamid had been shot and was taken to the 24-hour clinic in the Chahardangeh neighborhood.
His breath was warm and we were hopeful that he would survive. We decided to take him to Ziaeian Hospital but when we got there, Hamid had already left this world. They took his body and told us to go to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Islamshahr. But they delivered the body to the security forces. They wouldn’t release him to his family.
His father and brother had to run around for three days before… they were told that he had to be buried in the Daroleslam Cemetery in Islamshahr… We wanted to bury Hamid in the cemetery in our own neighborhood, but they wouldn’t let us… The authorities didn’t ask for money to deliver the body, but Hamid’s father and brother had to sign a pledge [of silence].
The authorities said they would investigate the matter and inform the family how Hamid was killed. We want them to tell us what happened and who fired the shots.
Read this article in Persian.