“We were allowed neither to publish a mourning notice nor to hold mourning ceremonies in the mosque. We had to bury our brother in secret and we had to hold the ceremonies in our home.
Now they say that he is a martyr and they will pay us blood money. But my brother did nothing wrong and we want retribution. We know that the police highway patrol shot at him. It was either the police or a security agent. In short, they know who shot him.”
Kamila Kabiri, the sister of Amir Hossein Kabiri who was shot dead during November protests in Karaj near Tehran, says she knows how her brother was shot and who shot him: “On Saturday, November 16, between 2pm and a quarter to 3pm, Amir Hossein was on his way to my son’s school to bring him to me when he was shot in the back 45 meters from Golshahr. The shot came from where the highway police are stationed.”
A five-second video posted online shows the lifeless body of a young man on the ground. One of the people who has shared the video said the body belongs to Amir Hossein Kabiri, although this account cannot be verified. However, the video is strange in several ways. There is not much blood on the body but, even more strange is that the hands of the young man are inside the pockets of his overcoat, perhaps suggested he was watching what was happening in front of him when he was shot; perhaps by a sharpshooter, possibly by a stray bullet. What is obvious is that he was shot dead so quickly, that he had no chance of removing his hands from his pockets to protect himself and to try to save his own life.
The school called Kamila Kabiri and told her that her son’s uncle had not appeared as expected and that the boy was still waiting. Amir Hossein’s mobile phone was working until 2pm, when he had called his sister. But after that, when Kamila Kabiri tried to call him, there was no answer. “We started looking for Amir Hossein from around 5pm,” she says, “until 1:30am on Tuesday when we found him at Alborz Hospital.”
The video – if it is indeed a video of Amir Hossein – suggests that he was shot as he was observing events, but his sister believes this regardless, based on the details of his fatal injuries.
“The bullet hit his spine from the back of his neck,” she says. “It appears that his heart stopped because his larynx was punctured. They took him first to Kosar Hospital, but since they could not provide the necessary services they took him to Alborz Hospital. In Alborz Hospital his heart stopped twice more but he was revived. They kept him alive with the help of life support until Tuesday, November 19, when he died.”
On Saturday, before he was killed, Amir Hossein had told his sister that the situation in the city was dangerous and, therefore, he was not going to open his shop. She says that he had no intention of joining the protests and that he had no political affiliations. “He just wanted to pick up my son from school and bring him to me because at the time I was not in our neighborhood.”
Kamila Kabiri says that during those three days, when Amir Hossein was in the hospital, she saw many security agents accompany the wounded, sometimes questioning them, but none of these agents spoke to her or her family or asked them any questions.
“They had seen the videos themselves and knew that he was not in the protests,” she says. “But I saw that others came in and left with the police.”
The same day that Amir Hossein died in the hospital, they sent his body to Behesht Sakineh Cemetery and kept the body there for a day with the medical examiner.
“They gave us the letter from the prosecutor’s office, which was required for handing over the body to us, and on Wednesday they gave us the body,” says Kamila. “They did not ask us for money. But my father had to sign a pledge that we would not publish a death notice, we would not hold mourning ceremonies in a mosque and, if anybody asked, we would say that Amir Hossein had died in a traffic accident. We had to bury our brother in secret and hold the mourning ceremonies in our home.”
Amir Hossein’s body was turned over to Kamila and her husband. No agent came with them. “Only an ambulance to carry the body was with us and the driver took a tip and drove away,” says Kamila. “They left Amir Hossein alone when they killed him. They no longer bothered him.”
He wanted to marry soon
Amir Hossein Kabiri was born in 1987 and owned a perfume shop near Golshahr in Karaj. He was single, but his sister says he was in love and wanted to marry soon.
Government officials have announced that they will declare some of those killed during the protests as “martyrs” and will pay blood money to their families.
“On Tuesday, December 3, they called my father and told him that they wanted to pay blood money [for Amir Hossein] and declare him a martyr, but my father told them no,” says Kamila. “I have no idea who they were and where they were calling from. But my brother had done nothing wrong and we want retribution.”
Amir Hossein’s sister says that she wants to file a complaint so that his brother’s murderer would be identified and punished.
“I was waiting for my parents to file a complaint but, as of now, they have taken no action, so I am going to do it myself,” Amir Hossein’s sister says. "I know that my brother was shot from the direction of the highway police. It was either the police or a security agent who was there. In short, they know who shot him. There were no more than 50 people there. They must be forced to show me the murderer. They will do this only if they are forced, only if I can do something [to force them].”
Kamila adds the government’s offer of blood money and calling some of those killed in the protests “martyrs” does not satisfy the demands of families who have lost their loved ones for no reason.
“This is not good enough for me and my family,” she says. “I had only this one brother. He was both my brother and my sister. For me, for my mother, he was everything. My mother, who is ill, will die soon. Our lives have been shattered now that Amir Hossein is gone. Money is not the answer to the calamity that has befallen us. I had only one brother.”
Two years ago, Amir Hossein’s mother had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and now suffers from diabetes. She is old and very ill.
“It was my brother who was caring for our mother,” says Kamila. “All the responsibilities of the household were on his shoulders. Now that he's gone, my mother will die without him. This is the truth. My father is old and is not in good health. They brought up a son who was to be their support in old age. But the government took their son away. They did not just kill my brother. They destroyed my family.”
According to Kamila, Amir Hossein also helped the family financially because his mother’s pension could not meet their needs.
“Amir Hossein worked, provided for the family, took my mother to the doctor every day, helped my son and, at the same time, tried to help a little girl who sells fortune-telling cards in Sherafat Park,” she says. “He had an average income but he was helping this child. Whatever he bought for my son he would buy for her as well. He said that after he marries he might try to become the girl’s legal guardian. What a pity he is gone, and not only because he was my brother. He was an angel and now we have lost him.”
Kamila says she wants her brother’s murderer to be identified and punished. But she does not believe the authorities will do anything; she says she must search for his brother’s murderer.
“I have to go through legal processes so that [the authorities] will not say I have acted outside the law,” Kamila says. “They would then not take any action and, eventually, would say that [the killing] had been manslaughter and could be accommodated by paying blood money. Even so, I intend to follow it up. There must be some good people among all these bad people. That Saturday, as I was searching for my brother, a police officer at Police Station 16 said: ‘Don’t run around in circles. They [the security services] are making fun of you. We did not arrest anybody in the place where your brother was last seen, when you talked to him, on Golshahr Boulevard. He is either injured or dead. Go and look for him in the hospitals.’ Well, there are some good people among [the authorities]. Perhaps the good ones will help so I can get somewhere. God willing. I hope.”
They Shot Him in the Heart. His Baby is Still Waiting for Him..., 5 December 2019
Heavy Machine Guns Used to Kill Protesters, 2 December 2019
Security Forces Abandoned his Body Outside the Morgue — After 5 Days, 1 December 2019
Father of two young children was shot dead in Shiraz protests, 1 December 2019
Next month, they were going to marry. But last week, they killed him, 30 November 2019
They Killed My Son. I'll Continue to Fight for His Ideals, 29 November 2019
Security Forces Attacked Isfahan and then Blamed the Locals, 27 November 2019
Security Forces Kill a 13-Year-Old Bystander, 26 November 2019
She was Helping the Injured When They Killed Her, 25 November 2019
He was Unemployed. He Protested. They Murdered him, 22 November 2019
Shutting Down the Internet to Get Away with Murder, 19 November 2019
Twenty Dead as Shots Fired From Friday Imam’s Helicopter, 19 November 2019