Family of Man Killed in Iran’s November Protests: “We Want Justice”
Victim Was Caregiver of Mother, and Brother With Down Syndrome
The family of Mohammad Hashamdar, who was killed by a bullet in Behbahan, in Khuzestan Province, on November 16, 2019, during the violent state crackdown on the unrest that roiled the country at that time, is planning to file a lawsuit to seek justice, according to his sister Pouran Hashamdar.
He was one of at least six people who were killed in this city in connection with protests over the increase in the price of gasoline announced by the government on November 15. The actual number killed is likely higher as some families are afraid to attempt to seek justice.
Overall, more than 300 people across the country were killed by security forces during that unrest according to Amnesty International, with some estimates many times higher than that number. Tens of thousands took to the streets in cities and towns across Iran to protest the gas price hike, and some 7000 were arrested.
The cause of death was “injury to vital pathways,” according to the death certificate, Pouran told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“We have filed a suit along with the families of other victims, including Farzad Ansarifar, Mohammad Hossein Ghanavati, Ehsan Abdollahnejad as well as Mehrdad and Mahmoud Dashti,” Hashamdar said.
“We want the killer to be identified and punished.”
Hashamdar added: “Mohammad went to work in the morning and he was supposed to build a television stand for a customer. There were confrontations on the street but we were at home and didn’t know what was going on.
“My older brother phoned me and said there was a lot of commotion outside and he told me to tell Mohammad not to leave the house. But it was 10:30 in the morning and Mohammad had already left. I called him and he said he was outside and all the shops were closed. I was surprised. He said he was going to go buy something and then return to the shop. I told him not to be out and come home. Our last contact was at 11:54. He said he was coming home. That was our last goodbye.
During the violent state crushing of these street protests, bystanders were killed due to security forces firing live ammunition indiscriminately into crowds of unarmed civilians according to eyewitnesses and the victims’ families.
“After being shot, my brother was put on a motorcycle and taken to the hospital. The motorcycle driver then went to my mother’s house in a bloody shirt. It was Mohammad’s blood. He took my mother to the hospital. When I got to the hospital 20 minutes later, my brother had already been taken to the cold room.”
Mohammad Hashamdar was 33 years old and married. He was also the caregiver for his elderly mother and disabled brother.
“My other brother has Down syndrome. All his life he had been taken care of by Mohammad. He thinks Mohammad has gone on a trip to Ahvaz. He’s waiting for him to come back.”
Hashamdar added: “We had no problem taking delivery of his body. They had sent his body to Ahvaz but he was returned to Behbahan and we took him. We weren’t asked to pay anything or sign any pledge. But how are we going to cope with the pain? We have been burned and turned into ashes.
“We had no problem holding memorial services for him. Maybe it was because we didn’t bury him in Behbahan and instead laid him to rest next to his sister, Mansourieh, in the outskirts of the city. My mother said he should be buried next to his sister.
“No one has come to ask how we’re doing. We are really in a bind. The man who was everything to us is gone and we want justice. We want the killer to be identified and punished.”
Read this article in Persian