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

Mehdi Farhadirad

About

Age: 38
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Presumed Muslim
Civil Status: Unknown

Case

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

About this Case

Information about Mr. Mehdi Farhadirad (Bala’i) was taken from the websites of The Green Movement on December 28, 2009, IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency) on December 27 and 29, 2009, ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency) on December 30, 2009, Fars news agency on December 27 and 29, 2009, the Information Base of the Islamic Republic Security Forces on December 29, 2009, and RAHANA (Reporters And Human Rights Activists New Agency) on February 15, 2010.

Mr. Farhadirad was born on July 28, 2971 into a well-respected family in Shahr-e Ray, was killed by two bullets, one in his chest and the other in his head, during an attack by police and plain-clothed agents on December 27, 2009, the Ashura Day.

Officials’ Reaction

According to the existing information, on the eve of Ashura, officials took Mr. Farhadi’s family to the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery by car and showed them his body being buried. They ordered the family not to have any ceremony. When locals put a stone with the name of “Martyr Mehdi Farhadi” on his grave, authorities objected and removed the stone few days later.

Background

Following the presidential election of June 2009 and the widespread protest 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, the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution (February 11) and that of the occupation of the U.S. Embassy (November 4) – rallying and marching to show discontent with the regime.

On the Day of Ashura (December 27, 2009), protests in Tabriz and Tehran turned violent, with at least eight individuals 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 date stating, “unfortunately a limited number of conspirators… disrupted public order through their presence in the streets during the religious ceremonies while chanting digressional slogans.” In an interview with Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, an eyewitness who participated in the Ashura demonstration stated, “On the night before, we contacted friends to see who would come for the demonstration the next day. We did not expect killing, due to the honor accorded to this day. Compared to the first days after the election, some people were afraid, 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 such streets as Hafez, Taleqani, and Enqelab and stayed there until 1 p.m. Most of the clashes took place on those three streets.

“Police started the violence. At one point, we were walking on Taleqani Street, when a police vehicle came and passed 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 and began shooting tear gas at people. In the past, the police would wait for people to become a crowd and then shoot at them, but this time, they did not wait, at all. Demonstrators were moving toward Vali’asr Street, but the police began shooting immediately, to prevent the crowd from arriving there.

“However, the people were ready for violence this time. When police began attacking, people first fled but then started to throw stones at the police. The destruction was greater on the Day of Ashura [than on 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 Hafez Bridge and that shooting had been heard from Vali’asr Square. When the number of protesters gradually diminished in the afternoon, the pro-government forces increased and controlled Hafez Street. Then, about fifty covered women appeared, chanting slogans in support of the government.”

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

High ranking police officers made confusing statements about the number of casualties on Ashura. They denied that police vehicles ran over protestors. 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 values of the Islamic Republic’s holy regime, and of beliefs deeply rooted among the Muslim Iranian nation.”

Correct/ Complete This Entry