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

Shahrokh Rahmani

About

Age: 24
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

Date of Killing: December 27, 2009
Location of Killing: Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Arbitrary execution
Charges: Unknown charge

About this Case

What the authorities wanted from Mr. Rahmani’s family was to declare them, the police, harmless, after their vehicles spent part of the Day of Ashura driving over people.

Information about Mr. Shahrokh Rahmani, son of Hamzeh and born on August 16, 1984, was gathered from the following sources: the Islamic Republic News Agency (December 27 and 29, 2009), the Islamic Students News Agency (December 30, 2009), the Fars News Agency (December 27 and 30, 2009), the Police News Center (December 29, 2009), the Rahe Sabz website (December 31, 2009), the website of the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in Tehran, as well as the video clip of the Voice of America interview with Mr. Rahmani’s brother (January 6, 2010), which was posted to YouTube.

On Sunday, December 27, 2009, Mr. Rahmani was run over and killed by a police vehicle near the Azadi Square in Tehran.

The police called Mr. Rahmani’s brother and informed him of his brother’s death. The police asked his brother to visit the coroner’s office to identify the body. On December 28, Mr. Rahmani’s brother went to the Kahrizak coroner’s office. Mr. Rahmani’s body was returned to his family on the condition that they would not speak publicly about him. The death certificate stated that the cause of death was to be determined. The police threatened the Rahmani family and stated that they should proclaim that Mr. Rahmani died in a regular car accident [not related to the police].

The memorial ceremony for Mr. Rahmani took place at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery on December 30, 2009. Shahrokh Rahmani was 24.

Background

Following the presidential election of June 2009 and the widespread protests against its result, the government tried to prevent demonstrations by labeling them “illegal” and by violently suppressing demonstrators. Despite the intimidating circumstances, protesters poured into the streets on various religious and official anniversaries – Qods Day, Ashura Day, the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution (February 11), and that of the occupation of the U.S. Embassy (November 14) – rallying and marching to show discontent with the regime.

On the Day of Ashura (December 27, 2009), protests in Tabriz and Tehran turned violent, and at least eight individuals were killed. State-run news agencies, such as Fars and Mehr, reported that banks and other public and private property were destroyed and burned. The Tehran Police Department issued a statement on the same day stating, “unfortunately a limited number of conspirators… disrupted public order through their presence in the streets during the religious ceremonies while chanting denigrating slogans.” In an interview with the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, an eyewitness who participated in the Ashura demonstration stated, “The night before, we contacted friends to see who would come to the demonstration the next day. We did not expect that anyone would be killed on that day because of its religious significance. Compared to the first days after the election, some people were afraid [on Ashura Day], having seen the victims and heard about torture in the prisons. People were more careful not to be arrested. At 10 a.m., we went to the streets, such as Hafez, Taleqani, and Enqelab streets, and stayed there until 1 p.m. Most of the clashes took place on these three streets.

“Police started the violence. At one point, we were walking along Taleqani Street, when a police vehicle passed by some protesters. We thought that they were going toward Vali’asr Square, but [the vehicle] stopped a hundred meters ahead of us. The police officers got out of the car and began shooting tear gas at people. In the past, the police would wait for people to form a crowd before shooting at them, but this time the police did not wait at all. Demonstrators were moving toward Vali’asr Street, but the police began shooting [tear gas] to prevent the crowd from reaching [Vali’asr Street].”

“However, people were prepared for violence this time. When the police began attacking, people at first fled but then started to throw stones at the police. The destruction on the Day of Ashura was greater [than during previous days]. Protesters did not damage buildings much, but garbage cans were set on fire in the middle of the streets. A police vehicle was also set on fire, which had happened before. Many people in the streets were religious people who were mourning, beating their chests, and chanting slogans against the government at the same time. Around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, my friend’s cousin informed us that a person had been thrown off the Hafez Bridge and that people heard the sound of shooting around Vali’asr Square. In the afternoon, when the number of protesters gradually diminished, the pro-government forces increased and controlled Hafez Street. Then, about fifty veiled women appeared and chanted slogans in support of the government.”

Several video clips posted on YouTube and to other websites showed victims being killed. In one of these clips, a police vehicle is shown running over a protester several times. The names of at least five individuals who were killed by being run over by vehicles have been reported.

High ranking police officers released several confusing statements about the number of casualties on Ashura Day. They denied that police vehicles ran over protestors. The Deputy Chief of Police confirmed, however, that 300 persons were arrested on that day. A Tehran Police Department statement emphasized that “police forces… will harshly counter any infringement of religious dignity and principles, of the values of the Islamic Republic’s holy regime, and of the beliefs deeply rooted among the Muslim Iranian nation.” 

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