A Kurd border porter was killed by security forces on Sunday in Sardasht, northwestern Iran.
According to Kurdish news websites, the man was identified as 39-year-old Omid Mohammadzadeh.
He was shot in the hip and bled to death. Mohammadzadeh was married and father to three children aged eleven, seven, and five. His body has not been given to his family for burial yet.
This is the fifth border porter killed by border police or security forces in September.
In the past week, at least four borders have been killed on the borders of Sardasht, Baneh and Nosud, three of them by direct fire from the state forces.
On September 16, Mohammad Amin Ghaderi was killed by border police in Baneh, western Iran. Mohammad was married and father to one child.
Rasoul Karimi was killed in Baneh, western Iran on September 12. Rasoul was 32 years old.
On September 8, 39-year-old Sirvan Golzari was killed by border police in Marivan, western Iran. Sirvan was a father of two children. Border police opened fire on Sirvan and a group of border porters, and Sirvan was shot and killed.
On September 5, security forces killed 41-year-old Mohammad Khaled Abdollahzadeh in Piranshahr northwestern Iran.
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.