Witness Name and Surname: Withheld
Relationship to the deceased: Deceased’s sister
Deceased’s Name & Surname: Withheld
Deceased’s date of birth: 1994
Deceased’s place of birth: Withheld
Deceased’s date of death: 17 November 2019
Type of testimony before the Tribunal: Withheld
My brother used to work for a company and was a high school diploma holder. He left home on Sunday, 17 November, at 5:00 p.m. and went outside. We insisted that he stay home, but he replied: ‘If I fear them and stay at home, who would win a future for the young?’ He embraced and kissed all of us and left the house. In those two nights, he had significantly changed and wanted to go out and protest.
The day my brother was shot, those there knew him and quickly phoned my uncle. At 8:00 PM, my uncle called my father and said that my brother was shot in the hand and taken to a clinic. One of my aunts said: “Inside the clinic, I held his hand and said it’s nothing, my dear.” My brother said that he was in pain. He was in the clinic for a quarter of an hour; my cousin got in the ambulance with him. My cousin said he was still conscious then, and he held my cousin’s hand all along the route and said he was in pain. My cousin said he died while en route for a moment, but they gave him a shock, and he returned to life. But when they arrived at the hospital, he had died for good.
When we arrived, they had already transferred my brother to the hospital. Until my brother died, we did not know where he was shot. I asked that gentleman, who was in charge of whatever, I don’t know: “For God’s sake, tell me where he was shot?’ He replied: “Don’t worry; it’s not in a sensitive place.” A girl was standing beside me. She said: “My brother has been shot in the leg; for God’s sake, tell your mother not to make so much noise. The hospital is full of security forces and plainclothesmen. If they learn that someone has been shot, they will come and take him away. We want to somehow remove my brother from here quietly.”
I saw one gentleman with both hands tied to the bed who was shot in the leg. One of my brother’s friends works in a hospital; he said: “Anyone who was shot, we tried to bandage him quickly and release him from the hospital to prevent the Intelligence people from arresting him.” The hospital guards, nurses and doctors behaved very well and attended to the wounded persons. When they took my brother to the OR, they took him right in front of me. I saw that his face was pale and he was in bad condition. He had no blood at all; his eyes were half-closed. One apparatus was on his side. They were giving him oxygen quickly. His doctor said that he was already dead when my brother arrived in the OR. They had opened up beneath his heart to drain the water that had accumulated around it. They told my father at 10:00 p.m. that my brother had passed away. We cried a lot. One of the guards said: “For God’s sake, keep quiet. I’ll take you quietly so you can see his body.” He silently took us to the morgue through the back door. They had opened up about one span beneath my brother’s heart. I saw the point where the bullet had struck. It had entered through the abdomen and exited through the back. The bullet had passed through the stomach and they could not save him due to the profusion of bleeding. They described the cause of death (in the death certificate issued by the Forensic Medicine Department) as a bullet shot fired from a Kalashnikov calibre 6, 7 or 10.
My brother was shot in front of the Basij Base from a distance of 30 meters, from the rooftop of the Basij Base. There were 700-800 people there on that night. In the demonstrations, young men and men my father’s age were just standing; there was no public destruction and no violence. I don’t know why the Basij suddenly started shooting at the people and killed my brother. Then again, my brother was not in the demonstrations that night; he was standing in the alley with his friends when he suddenly fell to the ground, and they realised he was shot. His friends said that when he was shot, everyone ran away, and no one remained there to help him. A couple of his friends in the crowd saw someone falling, and they rushed to him. When they turned him over, they saw that it was my brother. There was no one to help. They slowly dragged my brother along the ground and took him to the road. He was conscious and said that he was in pain. His friend said: “On the route, we took your brother to the road; they were firing shots from the Basij Base all the time.” Even the car they had put my brother in to take him to the clinic was riddled with bullets. They had poured bullets down the route to stop them from taking my brother to the clinic. The Basijis fired shots at the people from the side of the Basij building, but the bullets they fired at the people were training bullets. Only the bullet that struck my brother was an assault bullet. His friends said that they had disconnected that area’s electricity and plunged it into darkness. All those people on the rooftops were wearing helmets and had covered their faces with keffiyehs. My brother’s friends had identified two of those who had opened fire on him.
When we left the hospital, the IRGC Intelligence people arrived at midnight and took away my brother’s body. We did not know for one whole week where he was. I, together with my father, looked at all Forensic Medicine Departments. Ultimately, we realised that his body was at the Forensic Medicine Department of the province’s capital city. My father went inside and asked them: “For God’s sake, tell me where my son is?” They showed him a photograph of my brother, taken the same night this tragedy occurred. Then, they asked: “Is this him?’ My father replied yes. They told him not to make noise as an Intelligence man was sitting next door.
Throughout that week, when they had not handed over my brother’s corpse, my relatives were constantly being visited by Intelligence men; the male door of the house was filled with Intelligence men. I was with my father; I saw the plainclothesmen come in, sit and go. Our relatives had set up over 40 banners for my brother and had brought 30-40 large flower bouquets. The Intelligence men did not object to those things, but whenever I would go to the alley at night, I would see their vehicles in front of the house.
They did not hand over my brother’s body until Saturday, 24 November. The Intelligence men said his body was brought to the morgue at 3:00 PM. The day they handed over his body, they made my father swear that there would not be much of a hue and cry at the ceremonies, not much mourning, no slogans, etc. We held the ceremonies for my brother; the ceremonies were very grand, and people came from all over to attend. Yet, one could easily see the Intelligence men among the attendees. For the fortieth-day ceremonies, we printed many notices and pasted them all over the city. The next day, all the notices had disappeared. We had set up a large banner with my brother’s photograph in front of our house, but they also removed the banner.
One month before my brother’s death anniversary, threatening messages were sent to my younger brother and deleted automatically. They would say: “You are the brother of so and so. We’ll arrest you soon.” The Governorate’s security department phoned my father and warned him to be careful not to make a video. But I did and posted it. We held the anniversary ceremonies on 16-17 November.
Men from the IRGC, the political security department, and the Governorate came to our house. I cried a lot and pleaded not to let them in. But one of our relatives is in the IRGC, and he said: “let’s see what they have to say.” They said: “(My brother) is our martyr brother; he went outside for us and our religion. Therefore, we will declare your brother a martyr.” My father and mother didn’t talk to them at all; my uncle spoke to them. Afterwards, nothing happened.
My father filed a complaint in early 2020. For over a year, he would go to the Justice Administration, the Security Department and the Governorate every morning, asking them who had killed his son. They had written in the final judgment that my brother was completely innocent and was shot from the Basij Base, but that we had no right to pursue the matter. The defence was justified, but the case could not be prosecuted. My mother had my brother at the age of 16, and my father was 19 when he was born; they were so attached to him. My brother was their life and their happiness.