KHRN reports heavy military presence in Kurdish cities in Iran
Kurdistan Human Rights Network has released a report regarding the situation in the Mahabad city of East Kurdistan, Rojhilat, where a young Kurdish woman committed suicide to avoid rape by Iranian intelligence agents.
KHRN (Kurdistan Human Rights Network) has released a report regarding the situation in the Mahabad city of East Kurdistan, Rojhilat, where a young Kurdish woman committed suicide to avoid rape by Iranian intelligence agents.
Ferinaz Xosrowanî jumped off the fourth storey of the Tara Hotel, where she worked, when the Itlaat agents attempted to rape her while she worked in the afternoon of 7 May.
Protests continue across East Kurdistan since the incident upon which citizens gathered in protest of Farinaz’s suspicious death but were met with heavy security force and clashed with riot police on the streets of Mahabad.
KHRN which was in contact with local sources from the onset of tensions from citizens and inspite of heavy military presence, was able to gather vital information which it condensed in a report released yesterday.
The Network said that Farinaz allegedly fell out of the fourth story of the Hotel she worked in during this confrontation with the government security employee and the circumstances surrounding her death have not yet been confirmed. There is suspicion around whether she killed herself or was murdered.
When Farina’s body was found in front of the hotel and crowds started to gather, the government security employee involved was arrested and taken for questioning. The news then reached social media and information regarding this issue was widespread. This has caused increased tensions and sensitivity around any news regarding confirmation of Farinaz’s cause of death. Due to pressure on the family to not speak and the silence of security forces and the Iranian Government, it is still unclear what circumstances led to her death, KHRN said.
A local source inside Mahabad’s Central Prison has told KHRN that the government security employee arrested was initially taken to the quarantine department of the prison but was then transferred to an unknown location. It is not clear whether he was transferred to a cell or another prison outside of Mahabad.
The local source also stated “After the break of the news on social media and Kurdish news outlets a call was put out to all citizens of Mahabad to gather in front of Hotel Tara on Thursday afternoon. Thursday, 7 May, at 2.00PM citizens started to gather in front of the Hotel in response to the call out. The hotel was emptied out and guarded by 50 security officers. As the crowd grew larger security forces attacked unarmed citizens with tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd. Citizens responded by throwing rocks and scraps from the street. This lasted for about an hour before security forces withdrew to observe from a distance. This is when the crowd entered the Hotel and set it on fire, including three cars parked in the Hotels parking area. During this time local Kurdish employees of the Revolutionary Guards were in a celebration held for their service to the Guards and the Regime and were unable to attend the protest with security forces. After 7.00PM, once the celebration was over, Local Kurdish Revolutionary Guards under the command of General Mohammadreza Naghdi joined security forces at the protest and once again clashed with protestors. All surrounding streets of the hotel were filled with protestors clashing with security forces and Revolutionary Guards. Forces then used shot guns to directly shoot at protestors injuring many at least 20 civilians. One of the injured protestors was rushed to hospital for serious injuries.” Rumours are that two protestors were killed, however, the KHRN was unable to confirm any deaths or obtain any further information regarding any casualties.
Protests lasted until 2.00am on Thursday night in Mahabad. An emergency security committee attended by the High Court Judge of Mahabad, the head of Security Intelligence, head of Revolutionary Guards and the head of the local Mahabad Police was called. The committee resolved that these protests must not go on any longer and all footage and pictures from the protests must be collected, analysed and participants identified for arrest. Reinforcements were called in from Miyandoab and Tabriz to join Security Forces to attack protestors just after 2.00AM. As forces numbered in the thousands they were able to attack and disperse the continued protests.
In the early morning of Friday, 8 May, security forces conducted house raids and arrested more than 20 civilians allegedly identified in protest videos and photos. Those arrested were taken to detention centres outside of Mahabad, however their exact location is unknown at this time.
The KHRN confirmed one of the civilians arrested as Omid Osmani. The names of others arrested cannot be confirmed at this stage.
A state of emergency was respectively sanctioned in Mahabad with heavy military vehicles guarding all streets. The cities of Bokan, Oshnooi (also known as Shnow), Sine and Mariwan have also been sanctioned with a heavy military presence as a another call out to citizens of all Kurdish cities was put out through social media asking people to continue protests yesterday.