Witness’s name and surname: Withheld
Relation to deceased: Withheld
Name of deceased: Withheld, referred as R in this testimony.
Deceased’s date of birth: 1996
Deceased’s place of death: Withheld
Deceased’s date of death: 17/11/2019
Type of testimony before the Tribunal: Withheld
Text of Testimony:
R was married and had a child . His employer, friends and colleagues have testified that on Sunday 26 Aban 1398 (17 November 2019) they were returning together from their workplace at about 5-6 p.m. One of them has actually witnessed the event. It seems that his child was ill and he had gone to a pharmacy on his way home to pick up medicine and was returning to his house. In the street he faces people who had assembled there to protest the hike in gas price. There were protesters on the one side and police and security forces and officers on the other. He was passing through that area as a passer-by when a man in police uniform and gear, carrying a gun in his hand, with his face covered by a mask, aims his gun at his head and tells him to stop. R, thinking that he wanted to speak to him, stopped. But when he stops, the officer fires a shot from the front from a short distance without giving any warning. Eye-witnesses say that R did not have anything in his hands, had not joined the demonstrations, had not shouted any slogans and had not taken any action. But that officer fired directly at his head from a distance of about 10 meters. The uniform that the officer was wearing was police uniform, and was black, I believe. His equipment and weapon were similar to those of the police. The weapon that he fired was a hunting shotgun that uses a cartridge containing a large number of very small pellets. When the shot was fired at his head, he fell down on the spot and lost consciousness. When his friends, those around there, some of whom knew him, go to R to help him, the officer aims at them and tells them that if they came close, he would shoot them too. They disperse, fearing their lives. But they saw from a distance that the same officer who fired at R, together with his colleagues who were in similar uniforms, transferred R to a dark-coloured private car, perhaps model 405, and removed him from the area. Believing that he had died, they threw him out of the car one street below beside a clinic. The physician or the nurses who were in the clinic called the ambulance and the ambulance transferred him to Hospital. R lost consciousness after the firing of shot due to intensity of injuries, but had not died. His friend, who was there, informs his wife. She and R’s father contact the hospitals and ER in the area, and the Forensic Medicine. They learn from the same clinic to which hospital R was transferred. I learned about it on the 28th (19 November).
When R was transferred to the hospital, he was not in good physical condition. His brain had suffered a lot of damage. He breathed artificially through equipment and a breathing tube. Four days later, a surgery was performed on his skull. He was in bed in ICU for about four months. He was unconscious during all that period. No improvement was noticed after the surgery. At the judge’s order, he was examined at the Forensic Medicine. In its official report no mention is made of bullet. The Forensic Medicine has written for Police Station(that the death was caused by) hitting on the head by a hurling, speeding object. But there were a large number of pellets in his chest, abdomen, leg and genital organ. His lungs had bleeding. One tube, called chest tube, was inserted in his chest on the right side in order to drain out the blood that had collected in his chest.
Security agents were at the hospital. I do not know the details. His father contacted me. While he wanted me to tell him what to do, he was constantly in a state of panic and fright. There were certain rumours at that time that frightened him. The rumours were that the hospitals have been ordered not to treat the wounded, not to give them beds or, not to let their families know what was going on or, if there was a need for blood transfusion or some other measure, not to do it. R was in Hospital, for about one month. The hospital officials tell his family that they had no more hope for his survival. They had put pressure on the family to remove him from the hospital. Of course, this was unlawful. The family had refused to do so as R was unconscious. Then the physicians removed him from ICU and put him on bed in another ward. As the condition of the ward was not good and the family were not happy with it, they transferred him to another hospital . He was bed-ridden for about one month, too. Because of the intensity of injury and infection in the central part of the brain where the bullet (pellet) was lodged, he died on January). From the hospital images and medical documents available, it is clear that 13-14 pellets entered his brain. I myself was in contact with his physician. He told me that a number of pellets had penetrated his brain and were lodged in a place from where it was not possible to remove them.
Before filing the complaint, they were in doubt whether R would survive or not. The family, especially his father was afraid of going to the police station to pursue the matter. He was afraid that they might make public his particulars. He and R’s wife filed a complaint with the Police Station His wife was told to write in her complaint that R was wounded by hooligans and thugs. They said that those who fired shots were hooligans and thugs. Later they said that he was one of hooligans and thugs. They told R’s father that he was a part of the rioters and troublemakers. His father said ‘When I came to the Police Station, a number of police officers had knowledge of the affair. They immediately asked me how R was doing. I said to myself, well, they know of the affair that’s why they asked how he was doing.’ After R’s death, they called their home and said they were calling from the Police Station, and wanted to know how he (R) was doing. They were told that he had died. They were following up the matter; this shows that the Police Station had knowledge of the matter. They might be in contact with the security agents, I’m not sure.
After the initial investigations, the file was transferred to, Public Prosecutor’s Office of the city in which he had been killed. The magistrate in the case makes investigations through the same police station and other investigating officers but it was all a cover-up. It was limited to the fact that they made some interrogations from R’s father and some investigations through the witness who was there. They took the witness to the scene of crime and asked the witness, to reconstruct the scene that he had witnessed. Some officers made inquiries from Intelligence Department of his hometown and police stations and the court in order to find some criminal record of R but failed.
The family were under constant stress and fear that they might create greater problems for them again. While following up their case, each time they refer to the court the magistrate tells them: ‘Your file will get to nowhere; you will not find the murderer or assailant. Come and give your consent so the file could be closed. In return, we will pay you an amount from the government as damages or blood-money.’ They constantly put them under pressure to give their consent. Although they are poor, they have not consented so far to receive the blood-money. They haven’t got any result out of their complaint either.
After R’s death, they waited for two days for the file to be transferred from the bailiff and the judicial to the prosecutor’s office in the city in which he had been killed . His body was transferred to the Forensic Medicine Department upon a judicial order and there an autopsy was carried out in the presence of the judge. But they did not give the result of the autopsy to the family. A report was prepared in complete secrecy and the confidential file was transferred. But what we have is the death certificate issued in the hospital which describes the cause of death a brain injury and infection caused by a bullet lodged in the brain. The death certificate prepared by the Forensic Medicine Department describes it as the entry of a sharp object in the brain.
On the third day, the judge in the file or the judge who was in contact with the Forensic Medicine Department refuses to grant permission to take possession of the corpse until R’s father gives an undertaking before the judge that he would create no problem, will shout no slogans or will not create any conflict and the ceremonies will be held quietly and the corpse would be buried quickly. With this undertaking they allowed him to take possession of the corpse. All formalities were done. They handed over the corpse and it was transferred from the morgue of the Forensic Medicine Department to the morgue of the graveyard. Four days after the death, his burial took place quickly I know that the memorial service was held only once on the day of his burial. No notification was published and the mourning and religious ceremonies all ended in one day. None of the 3rd day, 7th day or 40th day ceremonies were held. On the anniversary, only a few members of the family visited the grave; it was not held in the mosque. Perhaps this too was a part of the undertaking.