August 14, 2019
According to Iranian human rights sources,during the past weeks the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have opened fire on porters, killing and wounding dozens in Iran’s border areas.
The state security forces on Saturday, August 19, opened fire on a group of porters (load carriers), killing a young man identified as Reza Ebrahimi and wounding another.
In another repressive measure, a young porter was shot and injured on Friday by the border patrols near the city of Sardasht, close to western borders of Iran.
The victim was identified as “Younes Pirooti” resident of a village close to the city of Sardasht. Younes was rushed to the hospital with the help of his friends and relatives.
On the same day another group of porters in Khoy district, also west of Iran, were targeted by border patrols and IRGC forces. One young porter who was identified as “Naji Abu-Bakri” was severely injured. The bullet entered his upper thigh cutting one of his main arteries causing him to lose lots of blood. He was also rushed to a hospital nearby in the city of Urmia.
Similarly, on Thursday, repressive and terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) forces in Marivan area, near “Famishleh” township opened fire at another group of load carriers. This incident resulted in the immediate death of a 16-year-old porter identified as “Esmaiel Savojinejad.” His body was sent to a hospital in Marivan.
On Wednesday August 7, another porter identified as “Shahab” from the city of Sardasht was wounded during a pursue by the IRGC forces. He fell down from a cliff breaking his leg.
Turning the calendar page back to Sunday, Aug 4th, IRGC forces who were stationed outside the city of Piranshahr, also western Iran, confronted and opened fire at another group of porters carrying merchandise on their backs through rough mountainous paths. As a result, two young Kurdish porters by the names of “Rashid Khandani” and “Khalil Qaderi” were injured.
Working as a border porter or “kolbar” has turned into a prominent occupation for many in Iran’s western cities bordering Iraq and Turkey. Though it could hardly be called an occupation and is more of an obligation.
In Kurdistan province, where unemployment rates have soared as high as 40% among the youth, many young people have turned to this occupation.
Iran says that porters are smugglers and therefore border guards frequently open fire on them which has in many instances led to their deaths.
Iran’s state forces carry out these shootings without any legal implications and with impunity.
Hundreds of porters have been killed or injured in past years, according to reports by rights groups. Some have been shot by security forces and border guards; others have died after being caught up in natural disasters, stepping on land mines that remain from the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, or falling from mountains.