Witness name & surname: Withheld
The place about which he is testifying: Isfahan
Witness status: Witnessed to firing at the people
Type of testimony before the Tribunal: Withheld
16 November, when I entered Isfahan from Ghaemieh Avenue on Saturday morning, I saw that people had turned off their cars. I came to Kharrazi Highway. Again, I saw that the vehicles were standing still. No one was shouting slogans. I came to Imam Khomeini Avenue. There too traffic was at a standstill. I came to Rabat Avenue from alleys and by-ways. Then I saw the security forces coming from the other side to Robat Avenue. All of them had anti-riot gear, were in black uniforms and on motorbikes; they had guards with them.
I arrived at Ahmadabad Roundabout and saw that the people had closed the street. Everyone was outside. I was guided unconsciously towards Abshar Avenue. I saw that the people were running. Security forces were firing at the people from the side of Bozorgmehr Bridge of Isfahan; they were firing tear gas and were following them. Naturally the people were throwing stones at them. At the same Abshar Avenue I saw the side-walkers running; they repeatedly told me not to go (any further). Then I saw that they were hit by bullets; they were hit by target practice bullets or small pellets. Then I went to Bozorgmehr Bridge and from there to my house on my bike.
One or two hours later, about 09:30 – 10:00 p.m., I got out with my brother and went to Chahar Bagh Avenue, Isfahan. We became a part of the protesters. We saw plainclothes men mingled with people. I saw it with my own eyes. I spoke to one or two of them. I realized that they were gathering intelligence. For instance, they would tell the people: ‘Let us remove this bench from the middle of the park and put it in the middle of the road;’ or, ‘let us go this way, don’t go on that side.’ Then they would phone their officer in charge and would tell him that there were disturbances here and would ask for reinforcements to be sent here or there. Then there were a number of plainclothes men who would go to the street and would beat up the people, asking them why they were sitting here, or standing there. They would ask the anti-riot guards to come and then would join them and move forward with them.
I went from Chahar Bagh-e Bala towards Abshar when I saw the Basijis descended upon the people and started to beat and arrest them. They had fired tear gas; there was a lot of tear gas. When we were on the highway in our car with its windows closed, our eyes began to burn. On Saturday we saw only the tear gas (being fired directly at the people), not the bullets. Only one of my friends who was going home around 04:00 or 05:00 p.m. said that he had seen the police fire shots with their war guns at three persons on Kaveh Street, Isfahan, and kill them before his eyes.
On the first night the plainclothes men and the anti-riot forces beat the people with batons at upper Chahahr Bagh and Abshar streets; they would hit at the neck, at the legs, on the waist, or wherever else they could. The next night I saw that they did not let anyone in on the ambulance. They had brought buses parked side by side. If they hit someone or something happened to someone, they would pick him up and bring him to the mini-bus. They did not allow the ambulance at all to come to the street. There was nothing like police or even the traffic police, only the anti-riot guards. The guns fired small pellets; the bullets were plastic ones. They fired tear gas too. They had war guns as well. Mostly the plainclothes men and the Basijis fired the weapons. They would mingle with the people, identify them, and then fire at them from their midst. They fired from rooftops as well.
We went to Keshavarz Boulevard at 03:00 or 04:00 in the afternoon. There is a place called Shahid Mofatteh. There I saw a war scene. There were people, men and women, young and old; they had covered their heads and faces. Many plainclothes men had also mingled with them. People had stones in their hands. They had removed all those things that is the property of BRT and separates the streets from each other, and had thrown it in the middle of the road. They had closed the road. In order to avoid identification, people had smashed the cameras; they had lit fire in the middle of the road. Suddenly motorbikes, heavy vehicles and pickup trucks came from far away, and the people hit them with stones. They descended upon the people and we ran away. They were on one side of the highway and we were on the other side. They started firing directly at the people, but their bullets at that time were small, plastic pellets. They fired from the guns that spread bullets. Anti-riot forces and guards (fired the shots); they were in black uniforms. They had come with motorbikes, heavy vehicles and water cannons. They were on Toyota pickup trucks. Only the word ‘Police’ was written on their uniforms. The faces (of police) were covered. They carried pressurized plastic shields through which they could see on the other side but nothing could penetrate it. I saw two persons at one place who wanted to leave on their motorbikes but one of the officers fired a bullet directly at his waist. I saw others who were hit on their eyes. The bullets were pressurized plastic ones. When a person fell on the ground, people would quickly pick him up and take him away inside a store, for instance, if the store owner invited in. People would open the doors of their houses; the injured people were taken inside the houses. They would not let the injured people fall in the hands of the officers.
When it became dark, we went to Ghaemieh Ave. There too it was a war zone. People had closed the entry of the road. Security forces were there in large numbers. They had brought buses and mini-buses. There they fired war bullets. Motor bikers fired so many tear gas canisters that the street got filled with smoke. Then they descended upon young men and beat them with their batons. They would drag them inside the minibuses. I saw myself that they had beaten one person on his leg so much that he was not able to walk; he had become paralyzed. Four officers grabbed him and dragged him. Two had grabbed his hands and one bet him on the leg with his baton. The other officer who was behind him kicked him on his waist with his foot. He also hit him on the waist with his knee. They hit him with their feet on his head, face, hands and all over, especially on the leg so he may not be able to walk. Then they dragged him on the ground and took him away. They beat him so bad they knocked him out of his senses. He would fall on their hands, as if they were carrying a dead body. I saw one or two who had fallen on the ground. They would kick them on the head, face, arm and side; they would drag them and carry them away.
(The forces that fired shots in Ghaemieh) were all anti-riot and police. Some of the arms had thick barrels and large diameters; it was clearly for use of tear gas. But others were war weapons. I was at a distance and could not see what kind of weapon it was. But they did have war weapons. Some of them carried double-barrel guns such as Winchester, like hunting guns. (The war bullets) that they fired from a distance were aimed mostly at the lower half of the body.
The type of the Basijis is well known. The Basijis were in plainclothes; they had given them a helmet that had a face guard. Or, they were carrying batons with shields and helmets with face guards. But they were in plainclothes. Or they were wearing leopard pants, or chaffieh (Arab headgear), or khaki clothes. But the anti-riot men were fully equipped; they had knee-guards, shin-guards, bullet-proof uniforms, wrist-guards and elbow-guards. Their uniforms were black and made them look huge. Their weapons and everything were equipped. The Basijis had Kalashnikov or Colts. The anti-riot men had tear gas and large weapons such as Winchester and hunting guns; all of them were in black.
I went to Darvazeh Shiraz in the afternoon. I saw people gradually coming out (of their homes). They had placed water cannons and stationed forces all around Darvazeh Shiraz, and the Toyota vehicles that have shields in the front to disperse (the people). When they (the people) saw this, they closed the roads leading to the city. Again, I went towards Mofatteh and Ghaemieh. They had stationed forces everywhere and had closed the road. My friends, who were at Imam Khomeini Avenue, said that they were firing at the vehicles there and were crushing them. The street clashes there were very intense. Wherever I wanted to go, the forces were there. They would fire at anyone who stopped and would take him away. You could not stop at one place. People around Darvazeh Shiraz started to protest and the forces started to disperse them with water cannons. I went to Abshar Avenue and saw that it was entirely occupied by the forces and was closed down by them. If two or three persons walked together, they would be fired at or would be taken away. They used water cannons; the anti-riot forces on their motor bikes or on foot would descend upon the people and would beat them up with their batons. Some would run this way, some the other way. But the forces would beat the people whether or not one was a protester. They would beat on the head, on the waist, or the leg or wherever they possibly could. If they caught someone, they would take him away and whisk him in their minibuses. At the same time, they would kick him, beat him with the batons or whatever they had. The forces were anti-riot; the Basijis and plainclothes men all carried weapons. The entire city was in smoke and the sound of firing could be heard all over, like fire crackers. I heard it until at night. The forces had fired so much tear gas that they themselves would light a cigarette and would hold it in front of each other’s eyes. Too much sound of firing of tear gas and war bullets could be heard.
I believe it was Sunday or Monday. At Imam Khomeini Avenue towards Malekshahr there is a telecommunications office. Someone who had seen its film told me that one plainclothes man came there with a war gun and sprayed bullets all over; he killed one or two employees. He went under the telecommunications vehicle and tied a bomb there. The vehicle exploded. He himself ran away but the entire telecommunications building burned down. He said that the plainclothes men were a force in their own right.
One of my friends, who works in a hospital, said that the plainclothes men had surrounded the hospital; they arrested those who were brought there from the protests. Another friend, who was outside in his car, told me that the camera had filmed the protesters (along with him). They phoned him from the intelligence department. They had caught on camera the license plate of his car. They asked him to visit them. They told him that he had come out (for protests). He said that he was going home. They took an undertaking from him that he would not go out and join protests and demonstrations. They said that if he did it again, he would be responsible for his own blood.
I know that people have been killed in Ghaemieh Avenue, Kaveh Avenue and Imam Khomeini Avenue. I also know that many have been killed In Malekshahr, Isfahan, too.