Witness’s name and surname: Withheld
Relation to deceased: Sister
Name of deceased: Withheld
Deceased’s date of birth: 1986
Deceased’s place of death: Withheld
Deceased’s date of death: 16/11/2019
Type of testimony before the Tribunal: Withheld
In the morning of 25 Aban (16 November), my brother was walking on foot towards his shop. We spoke to each other on the phone at 12 p.m. until he arrived at his shop.
About a half hour later I contacted him by phone. He was at the beginning of the street His last sentence to me was: ‘Wow, people here are taking away the traffic lights.’ He said it was very dangerous and he would not stay there and told me not to come out. I became worried. I phoned him exactly at 02:00 p.m. He did not reply to my phone call. My brother was shot between 02:00 and 02:05 p.m. as we had spoken to each other earlier
I started looking for my brother from 4:30 p.m. I searched all neighbouring police stations and neighbourhoods. Skirmishes started in the middle of the road around 09:00 p.m. People were coming from the opposite direction and I was supposed to go towards another police station. They said: ‘Go back; they are shooting.’ Suddenly I saw that they were firing shots. The Special Unit’s forces were in black uniforms; their weapons were black and relatively large. A bullet passed by me from a distance of one meter. They were so close that I saw the face of one of them (who were firing). Those who ran away with us were elderly women and ordinary people going to their work. I saw plainclothes men with Colts. I saw that the armed police men were sent there from Police Station
Finally, we arrived at Police Station. There a senior police officer in uniform said to me: ‘We were not permitted to arrest anyone; we made no arrests. They have either died or are in hospital.’ He said that they had shot someone in the neck at noon and have killed him; the one who was injured is in bad condition and has gone in the basement of the police station and has concealed himself. When they were telling this to me, they didn’t know that the person who was shot was my brother. I too did not know at that moment that he was talking about my brother. He said: ‘Madam, there were a lot of skirmishes at the beginning of the Street; we were allowed to fire at people there. If you stay on the street, they would fire at you too.’ He told me not to waste my time and go to hospital.
Nevertheless, I came to that Street, the last place where I had spoken to my brother on the phone. There I saw with my own eyes that they were firing shots from the top of a Building. There were a number of policemen in green uniforms; some in yellow floral guerrilla uniforms. Their faces were not covered. Their weapons were black and rather large; it had a deep sound. Anyone who passed by they would shoot him. The boys who were in the middle of the skirmishes did not let me go forward and kept me behind the wall. They told me there what had happened; they said that they had shot at and killed my brother. I saw at 11 p.m. that a woman came from the boulevard to pass through when they shot at her and she fell face down in the middle of the boulevard and died. What I saw from a distance was that the bullet had struck her towards her heart around her belly. She remained lying in the middle of the boulevard for over a quarter of an hour. There was an ambulance building near there. They were firing from the front of the building and no one dared to come out. The entire ambulance (building) wall with all the front shutters was riddled with bullets. Everyone was hiding all around. Then a man came from the other side of the road to help the person who was shot, but could not lift her. After that firing started again, and the boys and people ran away once again.
I went to T Hospital early at night around 11:30 – 12:00. They had revived my brother for a couple of hours. But in fact, he had died; they had kept him (alive) with the help of equipment. Then the same ambulance that had brought him to T Hospital took him to B Hospital. One acquaintance who was inside B Hospital informed us that my brother was there. I went to B Hospital. Initially they would take the injured persons to T Hospital. Those whom they could not help there would be sent to B Hospital. There were many injured people in T Hospital. They had shot an eight-year-old girl in the thigh and had killed her. I did not see her name in the list of the killed persons. There was a 16- 17-year-old boy whom they had shot at his testicles which had detached, but he was alive. They had shot at the shoulder of one person. The hospital had been occupied specifically by these wounded persons; most of them were young men.
I was in B Hospital from 16 November until 19 November when they handed over my brother. All those three days he was on life-support equipment. The bullet had struck him from behind from the right side of his neck into his spinal cord and had exited from the left side of his face. The doctor who spoke to me in the hospital said that if the bullet was fired from a light weapon, he would have survived. As the weapon was heavy, the bullet had crushed the neck, the spinal cord and the bone all together. The doctor said that he opened (the wound) to operate upon it, but there was nothing there to operate. The doctors said that he was shot with a J3 weapon. (The hospital personnel) were afraid of the officers but they tried their best. They somehow arranged for me to see my brother. They took care of my brother too; they left no stone unturned. Since they didn’t allow anyone in ICU, I was in the salon below. Anyone who was shot by bullet(s) passed in front of me. The boy who lives in our own neighbourhood was shot in the abdomen; he died in the ICU beside my brother. His name too did not appear in the list of the decedents. Many families are afraid to talk about this. Out of the forty fifty wounded and the dead that I saw, only the name of a woman was in the list of the dead persons.
Policemen from the police station were in T and B hospitals. The doctors provided some help to the injured to stop their bleeding. Then the policemen would come and carry away the injured persons. For instance, they bandaged one injured person and officers took him away in the same state he was – naked.
The next day I went to that Building and asked precisely who were those people who had fired the shots. The soldiers explained to me: ‘When the reinforcements were sent from two other Police Stations, we were put in one room and asked not to interfere. The police force of two other Stations killed the people with the help of the reinforcements.’
I was in the hospital on the 18th of November. They phoned us from above. I realized that my brother had died. When I was with him, I opened his eye-lids and saw that his eyes were torn from inside and had swelling. They took my brother to the morgue and we paid the hospital costs ourselves. It amounted to 6-7 million toman. They sent his dead body from there to (graveyard). There they said that they would send it for identification of the type of the bullet. Since he was shot by bullet, we should have obtained a letter from the Public Prosecutor’s Office. They kept him there. We too wanted to have the bullet identified. We sent him to Forensic Medicine Department. There were many dead bodies over there. They said that since the bullet has exited, they could not give any opinion. They closed the file.
They returned his corpse to the cemetery on 19 November. Families had come to the cemetery and were looking for their kids. Plainclothes officers took my father to the graveyard’s administrative section and obtained an undertaking from him that the family would not cry and wale and would tell everyone that it was an accident; it would not hold any ceremonies, would not go to mosque and would not give an interview to any foreign radio. They threatened him that there would be problems for him. They also took undertakings from the father of a woman and the father of the one who was shot in the abdomen, and then handed over their corpses.
My brother was young. We wanted everyone to attend his burial service. My father was frightened as they had told him that no one must know about it and had taken an undertaking from him. There were a total of three cars at the time of his burial. We went there at 7-8 in the morning. We buried him at noon. We did not bury him in that cemetery . We took him to our own family graveyard. They only asked us to tell them the place of his burial. All the ceremonies were held within the family; they did not allow us to hold them in the mosque. They phoned one of our family members with an unidentified phone number and asked him what business he had with our family. They did not allow us to print the memorial service notice. They did not allow even to put up a banner for memorial service in front of our shop or our house.
There was a man beside my brother. His fist got a hole. They tied it with plastic bags to stop bleeding. About fifteen minutes later they removed my brother from there. A woman removed her chador and made it into an impromptu stretcher; it was used to carry my brother. But they could do nothing anymore. A woman said that when they shot my brother his eyes remained open on the spot and she realized that he had died. They revived him inside the ambulance and attached a tube to him there.
There is a camera above a building. We applied to check it to see who had fired at my brother. But they had issued orders to show no films and to close all files. We wanted to engage a lawyer when one of our (lawyer) friends said that they had been ordered not to accept the Aban (November) files. My brother’s death certificate describes the cause of his death as the ‘use of war equipment outside battlefield.’
After I gave an interview, the plainclothes men followed me and threatened me for one month. Most of the time they made phone calls at home. They tried to force me to accept that my brother was killed by the Monafeghin (the Islamic Republic calls the members of the Mujahedin Organization as Monfeghin). After two months my mother filed a complaint with the court. After a year of to and from, they finally said that this issue had nothing to do with the court. They closed all the files themselves and sent them to the Governorate. They did not give us even the Forensic Medicine report and sent it to the Governorate. My mother said, with tears in her eyes, that the last time she visited the court, they told her: ‘You should have raised your children properly so we would not be forced to pay money for them. You are responsible for their death, but we have to pay for them.’ Since my mother left her phone number in her application, she receives threatening messages on a regular basis.
The Governor and his deputywas in contact with my father. They had summoned my father at the Governorate. My father sent me there instead. They asked for my father and mother’s bank account number for the purposes of inheritance and diyyeh (blood-money). He said at the Governorate: ‘Since it was a military base, we would not declare your brother as a shahid (martyr).’ I said: ’I know who shot my brother.’ He said: ‘It was an accident; it was not a deliberate act.’ They had divided the decedents into three groups: innocents, those shot at home, and those shot outside. Then they declared a number of decedents as martyrs; they paid blood money to some, and damages to others.