In Memory of Shawaneh Ghaderi: Killed 8 years ago by Iranian government


8 years ago today, a Kurdish activist went to the central square in the Kurdish city of Mehabad to join other students in commemoration of the 1999 student protests in Tehran that were violently repressed by the Iranian government.

The name of the Kurdish activist was Shawaneh Ghaderi and he was one of the organizers of the demonstration that was also cracked down on by Iranian authorities. Human Rights Watch wrote in a report from January 2009:

[…] the demonstrators in Mahabad witnessed brutality when security forces arrived to arrest Shawaneh Ghaderi, a prominent Kurdish activist and one of the organizers of the demonstration. When Ghaderi tried to flee, security forces pursued and shot him, tied him to a car, and dragged him through the streets to his death. Rioting broke out and the incident, as well as photos of Ghaderi’s body that circulated afterwards, sparked eight days of protests in Mahabad and other Kurdish cities.

Ghaderi’s brother, Ebubekir, told Kurdish media what happened:

When he [Shawaneh Ghaderi] approached the soldiers, he was shot in the foot. He tried to escape telling the soldiers not to shoot. But they shot him again but this time in the stomach. A third shot hit him close to the groin. He was still alive and the soldiers tied him to a military vehicle and dragged him around the city

Two other Kurdish men were also shot by security forces that day. The killings were followed by protests in Eastern Kurdistan and during July-August 2005, about 20 Kurds were killed and hundreds were injured by Iranian security forces.

Human Rights Watch reported in August 2005 that they had a list of 17 protesters who were killed in the protests ensuing Ghaderi’s killing –

[…] three people shot dead in Oshnavieh on July 26, two people shot dead in Baneh on July 30, one person shot dead in Sardasht on August 2, and 11 people shot dead in Saqqez on August 3.

Information about violations of not just Kurdish rights but all human rights in Iran is hard to find due to the regime’s prevention of this and it is not rare that the Iranian regime charges journalists, activists and others with “membership of an illegal party” or “enmity against God.”

Below is a few articles about Kurdish activists who have been persecuted by the Iranian regime:

[1]: Kaveh Kermanshahi, a Kurdish-Iranian activist, fled to the Kurdistan Regional Government after he was sentenced four years in prison because of his work for Kurdish and women’s rights.

[2]: Farzad Kamangar was a 32-year old Kurdish teacher and social worker from the Kurdish city of Kamyaran. He was arrested for his activism but the official charges was “membership of PKK” and was executed May 9, 2010.

[3]: Two Kurds died of self-immolation after protesting prison authorities’ treatment of Keyumars Tamnak, a member of their religion.

[4]: Three Kurds were executed on December 15, 2012. The last words of one of the executed were allegedly My only fault is to be Kurdish. They hang me for it.