Iran-HRM – A border porter or “kolbar” who was shot and injured by police in Kermanshah, western Iran, passed away in the hospital on June 18.
The porter was identified as Basir Ahmadzadeh.
Basir was shot in the head by the state security forces on June 14 in Nosud border area. Ahmadzadeh’s brother was also injured in the shooting, but no report has been published on his condition so far.
A source close to the two brothers said that Basir’s body had not yet been handed over to the family, and that the provincial security council had asked his family to announce the death of their son after Iran’s presidential election.
This is not an isolated case. The Iranian regime’s security forces and the IRGC have a history of shooting and killing innocent civilians. There are almost daily reports of the state security forces and border guards opening fire on Kurd border porters in western Iran and civilians carrying fuel in southeastern Iran.
In a recent case, security forces killed a Kurd border porter on June 2, in Baneh, western Iran. He was identified as 63-year-old Hossein Faraji.
An informed source said security forces opened fire on Hossein’s car, on the suspicion of carrying smuggled goods.
Over 200 Iranian citizens were directly or indirectly killed or wounded by Iran’s state security forces in 2020. At least 74 citizens were killed, including 36 porters, 5 fuel carriers and 33 other citizens. The 2020 arbitrary shootings injured at least 130 people.
Iran’s porters (kolbars)
Porters (Kolbars) are poor people who transfer goods such as fuel, cigarettes, electric equipment, clothing, tires, etc. with great difficulty and at a high risk to their lives to earn a living for their families. They sometimes have to transfer 100 to 150 kilograms on their backs in the mountains and valleys, in hot summer or cold winter.
More than 68,000 porters are working in Iran’s border provinces, of which 16,000 to 18,000 are in Piranshahr and Sardasht, official statistics indicate.
Unofficial sources however estimate the actual number of porters to be around 350 to 500 thousand in border provinces.
Due to the lack of economic development, increasing poverty and unemployment in predominantly Kurdish region of western Iran, much of the local economy relies on such trade.
The State Security forces target the porters without any prior warnings under the pretext of “fighting trafficking of goods,” a practice which is in contravention of the law.
This is while no report has been published so far that these people are armed.
If not killed by security forces, kolbars die from avalanches, falling off mountains, hyperthermia, and hypothermia.