Iranian border guards on Friday opened fire at a group of kolbars (border traders) and a 25-year-old man named Rostam Khezri died, according to the monitoring organisation Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN).
KHRN also announced that the victim’s body was taken to the city of Sulaymaniyah.
#Iranian border forces have opened fire on a group of kolbars in Siranband border areas in Baneh, #Kurdistan province, and killed a young kolbar named Rostam Khezri on 25 March.https://t.co/4FwIDFGk0P
— Kurdistan Human Rights Network (@KurdistanHRN_En) March 26, 2022
Khezri was originally from Shno (Oshnaviyeh) in West Azarbaijan province, Iran, and migrated to Baneh county for economic reasons. It has been learnt that the victim was married, that he lost his father 20 years ago, and that he was the only breadwinner in the family.
Death at the borders
Kolbars are a part of Kurdish society that has become steadily more impoverished as a result of the Iranian regime’s misguided political and economic policies. The world learned the story of the kolbars through Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi’s cult movie, “A Time for Drunken Horses”. An Iranian (Kurdish/Persian) film produced in Iran, it was a joint winner of the Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. Every year, dozens of kolbars are killed on the borders by mines and armed drones, and in many other ways, but they still continue this risky job.
According to the annual report of KHRN in 2021, at least 46 Kurdish kolbars lost their lives and 122 were injured in the border areas of the western Iranian provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, and Kermanshah as a result of shootings by border guards, treading on land mines and accidents resulting from the hazardous journeys they undertake.
Of the 46 kolbars who lost their lives, 17 were killed by Iranian military forces and four by Turkish forces.
Also, of the 122 injured kolbars, 74 were shot and tortured by Iranian border guards, three were shot by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), three were shot and tortured by the Turkish border guards, one was shot by Iraqi border guards, 12 fell from border heights, and three were injured in landmine explosions.