KHRN Exclusive Report on Killing of Three Kolbars by Iranian Border Guards

Zanko Ahmadi, Zanest Hassannejad, and Soroush Makari were three Kurdish Kolbars killed by the Iranian border guards in the Bajar area of Sardasht, On Monday morning, September 14,2020. Two days later, in an interview with the Iranian state media, the West Azarbaijan border commander described the killed Kolbars as a “border trespasser and supported the killing of these individuals by forces under his command.

In the past few days, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has obtained more information about this issue in an interview with a number of family members of the three Kolbars and eyewitnesses in the area. According to the information provided to KHRN, security forces of Sardasht “Bardehpan” border checkpoint targeted a group of Kolbars a few kilometres from the Iranian border and the Kurdistan region in the “Bajar” region, between 5 and 6 a.m. on Monday, September 14 from a close distance. As a result, 25-year-old Zanest Hassannejad, the father of one child, 27-year-old Zanko Ahmadi, the father of one child and 20-year-old Soroush Makari were shot dead.
“After killing these people and confiscating their cargo, at least 11 horses of these Kolbars were shot and killed,” the Kolbars family told the KHRN.

According to the families of these Kolbars, Soroush Makari was shot in the back, Zanko Ahmadi was shot in the abdomen and hit in the arm, and Zanko Ahmadi was shot in the head. They were to Sardasht hospital which delivered the bodies to their families without undertaking forensic procedures.

Eyewitnesses, who have sent the photos and videos of the scene of the killing of Kolbars for KHRN, have rejected the statements of the commander of the border forces of West Azerbaijan Province and said that the forces had fired at these Kolbars from a close distance without any prior warning.

According to these sources, “authorities’ support of these killings and lack of prosecution of the officers murdering Kolbars have led the officers to safely blind target the Kolbars and kill them”.

Kamal Hosseinpour, the representative of Sardasht Piranshahr in the parliament, also stated in an interview with ILNA that these people had not been border trespassers because the border trespassers include miscreants, counter-revolutionaries or armed people who illegally cross the border to enter the country.”These people wanted to go to the other side of the border as Kolbars due to poverty because there are no jobs for the youth in Sardasht city. There were 3 border bazaars in this city, one of which is currently semi-active and 2 bazaars are now completely closed. There is no alternative job and the only way to earn a living is to resort to Kolbari.”, the member of parliament said.

According to statistics compiled by KHRN, at least 70 Kurdish Kolbars and businessmen were also killed by military agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2019 or lost their life as a result of natural disasters and insecurity on the routes while 154 Kolbars and border businessmen were injured.