"If we Hadn't Given them Money, They would have Tossed his Body in the Mountains": Ahmad, Afghan whose Brother was Executed in Iran, Tells his Story
Ahmad is a 23-year-old Pashtun resident of Kuhsan Wuleswalli, Herat Province. Iran’s judiciary executed his brother Rahman on drug charges. The following is based on an interview conducted in May of 2018.
Of some 6,100 defendants executed by Iran’s judiciary since 2010, at least 145 have been Afghans – a national designation that, per Iranian law, pertains both to immigrants from Afghanistan and children of Afghan men regardless of the place of their birth. Afghans living in Iran number some 2.5 million according to official sources. Activists report that they face both informal discrimination and formal state impediments to employment, education, and residence.
[My brother Rahman] and two of his friends were on their way to Iran to do manual labor when the police inspected their belongings and they found drugs in my brother’s friends’ belongings (who were drug addicts). All three were arrested on the charge of transporting drugs and were detained at Taibad Prison for four years. My brother was in jail for four years, innocent and not having done a thing, and was hanged after four years.
Before travelling to Iran, [My brother Rahman] was a herdsman [in Afghanistan]. He had been married for approximately five years and had two daughters and a son. When he went to Iran, his youngest child was only 10 months old.
There were no jobs [here in Afghanistan]. And being a herdsman doesn’t pay well. That was why [my brother] had to go to Iran for work, and he was entangled in that mess.
We could not go to Iran to visit him in jail because we didn’t have passports.
We were not able to travel to Iran for the burial services [after the sentence was carried out]. So we called our relatives in Iran; they had to pay four hundred thousand Tumans to [prison officials] just so they could take possession of the body. They buried him right there in Kariz [a town in the central part of the city/county of Taibad in Khorassan Razavi Province].
They would not have turned the body over if we hadn’t given them the four hundred thousand Tumans and [prison officials] would have just thrown him at the foot of a hill or a mountain themselves.
My brother’s family lives with us. We are 11 people in total, along with another brother who works as a manual laborer in Iran. We have no other source of income other than herding and going to Iran to do manual labor.
Rahman and Friends