By Jubin Katiraie
Iranian military forces killed one porter and injured two others in the border regions of Urmia, West Azerbaijan Province, on Sunday.
Arsalan Ahmadi died from his wounds after security forces open fire on the unarmed trio in the Sumabradoust region near Koran village, while Touran and Roudan Ahmadi were severely wounded.
Widespread and crippling poverty in Iran has forced many of those in the western provinces to take on the difficult and dangerous job of porter, which involves carrying goods across treacherous mountainous areas. Dozens are killed along mountainous roads every year, some through accidents or natural disasters, but many others are shot by security forces because Iranian officials claim that porters are smugglers. More still are permanently disabled because of these shootings.
Even women, children, and those with higher education can be seen amongst the ranks of porters, as poverty climbs. In Kurdistan, where youth unemployment rates are 40%, many young people have had no choice but to take this job.
In another story about mistreatment by the Iranian regime, female political prisoners are being brutally tortured in prison.
Agricultural Engineering student Saba Hamadi, 22, was arrested in 2018 after publishing an article against ethnic discrimination, economic problems, and rampant poverty.
They held her on the unfounded charge of collaborating with ISIS and tortured her horrifically, giving her electric shocks that left deep burns on her arms, amongst other horrific things. She was sentenced to death, but this was commuted to 15 years in prison.
While elementary school teacher, Fahimeh Esmaili Badvi, 40, was arrested in 2005, despite being eight months pregnant, on the bogus charge of waging war against God.
She was imprisoned for 12 years and sent to exile in Yasouj, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province. When she was in labor, the so-called doctor said that he should kill her and her baby, while Intelligence Department agents looked on. Her husband, Ali Motiri, was executed in 2006.
In a related case, human rights lawyer Soheila Hejab was moved to Qarchak Prison after an appeals court session on Sunday, where the court upheld the 18-year sentence for “propaganda against the state”, “assembly and collusion”, “disrupting public order to create chaos”, “forming a group to defend women’s rights”, and “demanding a referendum and changing the constitution”.
She was arrested and beaten by IRGC intelligence agents; one of whom is her former interrogator, who literally threatened her with death. The IRGC Sarallah base agents dragged her to the ground by her hair and severely punched and kicked her in the head, face, and sides. They also threatened to open criminal cases against her.
In a phone call from prison, Hejab said: “Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I will be taken to court. They will definitely take me to the safe houses of the IRGC’s Sarallah for long-term interrogation and solitary confinement.”