Young Man Shot Dead as Iranian Authorities Try to Silence Justice-Seeking Families
Police Kill Cousin at Gravesite of Nine-Year-Old Kian Pirfalak
Thirty Relatives of Slain Street Protesters, Mostly Mothers, Detained
June 12, 2023 – Iranian authorities’ killing of a young man, Pouya Molaeirad—amid a memorial for his nine-year-old cousin Kian Pirfalak, also believed to have been killed by state security forces—marks an escalation in the Iranian government’s crusade to silence families seeking justice for loved ones who were killed amid the state’s violent repression of anti-state protests.
“The Islamic Republic has given state security forces an open hand to shoot, maim and kill anyone accused of criticizing its policies,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Iranians cannot even mourn their dead, without risking the wrath of the Islamic Republic’s killing machine,” Ghaemi said.
“World leaders must raise the cost to the Islamic Republic of its increasingly cruel and unlawful violence against the people of Iran,” Ghaemi added.
First They Killed Kian, Then Pouya
On June 11, when the Pirfalak family and supporters gathered at Kian’s grave site in the city of Izeh amid a heavy state security presence to remember the child on what would have been his 10th birthday, Mahmonir Molairad’s cousin, Pouya, 21, was also shot dead. Images of his bullet-ridden body were shared on social media.
Iranian officials claimed Pouya tried to drive his car into police forces who had surrounded the outdoor memorial service at Kian’s grave, yet relatives have disputed the account and noted that they have also been attacked.
The Pirfalak family is among more than 500 families whose loved ones, including dozens of children, were killed amid the Iranian government’s violent repression of anti-state protests that were at their height between September 2022 and January 2023 following the death in state custody of Mahsa Jina Amini on September 16 after she was arrested for her allegedly inappropriate hijab.
Last week more than 30 relatives of slain street protesters, mostly grieving mothers, who had gathered to remember and honor their loved ones at their graves in the Iranian cities of Saqqez and Bukan were arbitrarily detained by state security forces on June 9.
After being detained for approximately 12 hours, they were released by being transported to a deserted road between the cities of Saqqez and Divandareh and left there alone in the middle of the night.
The Iranian government has a long, documented history of persecuting family members seeking justice for victims of state violence.
Pirfalak Family Severely Persecuted for Blaming State Forces for Kian’s Killing
Kian Pirfalak was just nine-years-old when he was killed amid Iranian authorities’ violent repression of street protests in the city of Izeh, Khuzestan province in November 2022, when they opened fire on his family’s car, also seriously injuring Kian’s father, according to the family.
After Kian’s mother, Zeinab Molairad, publicly disputed the government’s narrative about the killing of her son at his funeral that month, she was fired from her job as a teacher and the family came under severe pressure to be silent, yet they refused to acquiesce.
After a trial completely lacking any semblance of due process, an Iranian court sentenced to death a street protester, Mojahed Kourkour, for Kian’s killing. In response, the Pirfalak family notarized a statement declaring that their son was killed by state security forces and posted it on social media this month.
“We declare that we witnessed the killing of our child and the injuring of Meysam Pirfalak (the father) by the shooting of judiciary agents on our private vehicle and we have filed a complaint against them…” said the statement.
Read this article in Persian