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Arbitrary Killings Continue in Iran

Throughout early March 2017, arbitrary killings were recorded at the border where Kurdish porters are often found. On March 6, military forces targeted the Kurd porters and killed a Kurdish man identified as Kamal Behnam.

Multiple other individuals have been targeted in the same manner, with the argument being that the Iranian forces are suspicious of Kurdish citizens carrying contraband. These men have been killed without any formal charges or a trial.

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According to reports received by the Kurdistan Press Agency, another backpack carrier was working on the borders of South and East Kurdistan was shot and killed by the Iranian military forces on March 10. The report noted that the man was shot and killed by IRGC forces without any warning.

Due to a lack of employment opportunities and infrastructure, as well as discrimination against the Kurdish minority, hundreds of Kurdish Kolbars (backpack carriers) who live on the borders of East Iran and South Iraq take up this dangerous work to provide the necessities for their families. Indiscriminate shooting by Iranian armed forces is a hazard of the job. According to records from the Kurdistan Press Agency, 31 Kolbars have been killed or injured since the beginning of 2017.

Additionally, the Kolbars also face severe weather conditions and other hazards for minimal pay. However, Kurdish citizens are also targeted for detention. The charges stem from political associations that the Iranian regime claims these citizens have, including connections with Kurdish opposition groups.

One recent arrest, carried out by the Iranian intelligence forces, was a photographer and owner of ‘Nice’ photography, Said Ahmadi. He was searched and his computer, camera, visitation and appointment records were all seized. A source close to the family stated, “The main reasons behind his arrest were unknown.” Ahmadi’s father disappeared during the early days of the 1979 revolution and his brother was expelled from the Wrimia University late last year.

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According to records from the Kurdistan Press Agency, the security forces have detained 59 Kurdish citizens since the beginning of the New Year. The whereabouts of many of those detained are still unknown.

The Kurdish minority is not the only one being targeted by the Iranian regime, but their status within Iran is especially difficult, as many are denied the necessary status to maintain or obtain employment, among other forms of oppression. As a result, there continue to be human rights violations regarding this particular minority reported from inside Iran.

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