Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

https://www.iranrights.org
Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Amir Hossein Tufanpur

About

Age: 31
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Married

Case

Date of Killing: June, 2009
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Arbitrary execution
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

Mr. Tufanpur  — father, husband, and motorcyclist —  approached the clashes in Azadi Square, leaving his brother on the outer edges.  The family lost contact with him.

Information about Mr. Amir Hossein Tufanpur was taken from websites of HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency) on July 21, 2009 and Radio Farda, quoting the website of Green Freedom Wave on July 30, 2009. Mr. Tufanpur is also included on the list of “Names and Specifications of 72 Martyrs of The Green Movement” published by the top advisor of Mr. Mirhossein Musavi, the presidential candidate, on the Noruz website on September 4, 2009.

Mr. Tufanpur, 32, was married and had a seven-year-old daughter. According to the published reports, on June 15, 2009 around 8:30 p. m., he and his brother were passing by the Azadi Square riding a motorcycle. When Mr. Tufanpur saw the crowd and street clashes, he separated from his brother to find out what was happening. His brother, hearing the shootings, kept his distance from the crowd and went back home after waiting for awhile. He tried unsuccessfully to call his brother’s cell phone. Hours later, an unknown person called the family of Mr. Tufanpur from the latter cell phone and informed them of the fact that he had been shot and transferred to the Rasul Hospital (Green Freedom Wave).

According to the available information, after days of distress and checking various hospitals, including Rasul Hospital, Mr. Tufanpur’s family finally identified his body at the forensic office in Kahrizak on June 19, 2009 (Green Freedom Wave).

Mr. Tufanpur’s body had various injuries including bullet wounds in the arm, side, and back. Also, his arm was broken and the back of his neck was black and blue. A deep wound in the back of his head, filled with cotton, was also reported (Names and Specifications of 72 Martyrs of the Green Movement).

No information is available about how Mr. Tufanpur was killed after he was shot in his arm. Officials offered his family no information in this regard. He was buried in the Beheshte-Zahra cemetery in Tehran on June 21, 2009.

Officials’ Reaction

The Revolutionary Court officials first refused to return Mr. Tufanpur’s body. According to his family, they asked for the payment of 5 to 10 million Tomans as “the bullet fine”. Then, after efforts and follow up by Mr. Tufanpur’s mother, officials accepted that he had not been political and only a passerby, and gave his body to the family without payment. According to Green Freedom Wave website, Mr. Tufanpur’s body was given to his family with the condition of having no ceremonies at home or in any mosque.

Officials from the judiciary promised Mr. Tufanpur’s family that they would investigate the murderer or murderers’ crime. The family was also led to believe that they might even get Diyeh [blood money] if they content themselves to only followi the legal paths and (Green Freedom Wave)

Background

Election returns from Iran’s June 12th, 2009, presidential election declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected with 62.63 percent of the vote. Following the announcement, citizens disputing these official results demonstrated in the streets. Text messaging services were disrupted starting at 11:00 p.m. on the night before the election and remained unavailable for nearly three weeks, until July 1st. On Election Day, the deputy chief of Iranian police announced a ban on any gathering of presidential candidates’ supporters throughout the country. The same evening, security forces made a “show of strength,” increasing their presence in Tehran’s public squares to “reinforce security at polling stations.” Officials at election headquarters began reporting results soon after midnight, despite a statement from the Minister of the Interior that the first returns would not be announced until after the morning prayer (around 4:00 a.m.).

Many supporters of other presidential candidates came out into the streets on June 13th, once the results were made public, to protest what they believed to be a fraudulent election. Candidates Mir Hossein Musavi, Mehdi Karubi, and Mohsen Reza’i, Ahmadinejad’s competitors in the race, contested the election, alleging many instances of fraud. They filed complaints with the Council of Guardians, the constitutional body charged with vetting candidates before elections take place and approving the results afterwards, requesting an annulment and calling for a new election. Before the Council of Guardians could review their claims, however, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, congratulated Ahmadinejad on his re-election. In the meantime, many people active in Karubi’s and Musavi’s campaigns were arrested.

On June 15th, unprecedented demonstrations filled the streets of central Tehran, in which an estimated three million protestors participated, according to statements attributed to the mayor of Tehran. As the demonstrations were ending, paramilitary forces attacked the marchers, injuring and killing several people. To prevent such news from being broadcast, the Iranian government expelled foreign journalists from the country and banned news agencies from reporting on the events. Over the next three days, protesters took part in peaceful demonstrations in Tehran. The repression entered a new phase on June 19th after Ayatollah Khamenei’s Friday sermon. The speech was understood by many, including Amnesty International, as giving “legitimacy to police brutality.” The next day and thereafter, police and plainclothes paramilitary groups attacked the protesters. Public gatherings of any kind were declared illegal, and police, motorcycle-riding special units wearing black uniforms and helmets, and plainclothes agents brutally enforced this restriction.

Individuals in civilian clothing, commonly referred to as plainclothes forces, are used in the Islamic Republic to disrupt political and trade union activities, student events and gatherings, electoral initiatives, and protests. Armed with sticks and clubs, and sometimes with chains, knives, batons, or firearms, they emerge when the state decides to suppress dissent. These plainclothes forces move about freely, violently beating protesters and arresting them, while the police passively look on or actively cooperate with them.

There is little information on the command structure and organization of such groups, whose members wear ordinary clothing rather than official uniforms and may be affiliated with the ministry of information, influential political groups, or the armed forces. Following the post-election demonstrations in June 2009, pictures of some plainclothes agents were posted on internet websites. Internet users helped to identify some of them and provided evidence that these individuals were affiliated with the Basij paramilitary groups, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, and state intelligence forces. On September 16, 2009, a deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps of the Province of Tehran confirmed the active and decisive role of Basij forces in the repression of the demonstrations, saying, “Basijis, through their presence in recent events, have blinded the eyes of the conspirators, and they should be appreciated… The enemies of Islam wanted to make the air dusty and to exploit the recent events, but thank God, through the enlightenment of the Honorable Leader we were victorious against this conspiracy.” He also emphasized, “The zealous youth of [the] Basij, believers in the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent, are the second and third generations of the Revolution. They have been successful in this stage and victorious on this battlefield.”

When personal property was damaged during the protests, government authorities and state-run radio and television programs accused the demonstrators of vandalism and justified the repression. At the same time, however, footage posted online showed security forces destroying and damaging property on side streets and in uncongested areas away from the protests. Moreover, in a public gathering in Tehran on October 20th, the chief of Iranian police conceded that police had destroyed and damaged property and accepted responsibility for it.

The precise number of citizens injured, killed, or disappeared in the post-election violence is not known. According to various reports, there were hundreds of victims in demonstrations throughout the country. More than seventy names have been reported. It is said that officials have threatened victims’ family members, demanding their silence and that they refrain from giving interviews. Reports also allege that returning a victim’s body to a family has been made conditional upon their agreement to change the cause of death listed on the coroner’s certificate to that of a heart attack or some other natural cause — thus foregoing the right to file a complaint — as well as the family's agreement not to hold memorial services for the loved one.

According to government statements, more than 4,000 people were arrested throughout Iran in the weeks following June 12th. Many have been held at the Kahrizak Detention Center, where prisoners’ rights and minimum hygiene standards were typically ignored. Numerous reports of violence, including the torture and rape of detainees, have been published. State reports and testimonies confirm that a number of detainees at Kahrizak died in custody due to beatings, difficult and unbearable prison conditions, and torture.

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