Continued Killing of Unarmed Cross-border Couriers: 9 Killed and Injured Within 9 Days
At least nine unarmed cross-border couriers were killed or injured between October 30 and November 7, 2012, a local source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “On the night of October 30, border security forces shot some cross-border couriers in Targehvar near Orumiyeh [in West Azerbaijan Province]. One of the border couriers, Sami, was killed,” the human rights activist said.
On November 2, 2012, in the Sardasht border region, border security forces ambushed and shot several border couriers, known as kulbar and kasebkar. The ambush led to the death of Khaled Alizadeh, a courier from Bivaran in the district of Sardasht, and the injury of another courier. Security forces imposed strict rules for Alizadeh’s funeral, even requiring his family to say he died in a car accident in his public funeral announcement.
Another cross-border courier, Omid Ahmadi from Diri in the district of Orumiyeh, was shot on the night of November 5 in Targehvar.
In yet another shooting of couriers in the same week, on the night of November 7 border security forces in the Dashteh Vazni region shot a caravan of cross-border couriers, killing Bapir Mojahedi, a Kurdish man from Alvatan in Sardasht who was the father of a newborn baby.
The local source told the Campaign that the recent shooting of couriers was not only carried out by Iranian forces, but that Turkish military aircrafts also bombed the Iraqi Kurdistan–Iran border region in the early morning hours of November 7. The bombing led to the death of two Kurdish couriers, Shapol Loqman from Mahabad and Mam Ali from Piranshahr. Another courier, Abo Bakr from Chakoo in Piranshahr, was injured.
One of the couriers told the human rights activist that they had been taking a rest in a house and a tent in the Iraqi Kurdistan-Iran border region when Turkish military aircrafts targeted them. In addition to the couriers, several draft animals were killed in this attack.
In August 2012, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran published a comprehensive report about the ongoing killings of cross-border couriers in Iran. The report, Dangerous Borders, Callous Murders: Documenting the Killings of Couriers in Iran’s Border Provinces, confirms that at least 146 couriers were killed or injured in 2011. In a letter to Iranian officials, the Campaign asked them to put an end to the use of lethal force against unarmed couriers and to revise their economic policies towards western border residents. The Campaign also urged Iranian authorities to revise the Border Closure Plan, a project of sustainable security, to prioritize the life and well-being of the residents of Iran’s border regions.