Crime Justice

Viral video of Iranian officer beating Afghan refugees sparks public outrage

By Omar

Afghan refugees who have been deported from Iran speak out after video emerged of an Iranian border guard beating and humiliating Afghan immigrants in an undisclosed location. [Omar]

HERAT -- A video showing Iranian border guards violently abusing and humiliating Afghan immigrants has recently gone viral on social media, evoking sharp criticism and public outrage among Afghans, including many of whom have faced such violence themselves.

The video shows Afghan immigrants standing in a line. An Iranian border guard then slaps each one in the face while yelling. It is unclear when and where the video was filmed.

On December 23, the Afghan Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian deputy chief of mission to Kabul, and issued a statement that "condemned the beating and insulting of these Afghan migrants in Iran and called the action inhumane".

"A video has recently gone viral on major national and international media outlets, which appears to be the evidence of an inappropriate, humiliating and despicable treatment by members of the Islamic Republic of Iran's law enforcement against some Afghan immigrants," the ministry said in a December 20 letter addressed the Iranian embassy in Kabul.

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Afghan refugees who have been deported from Iran wait in line for assistance at the United Nations refugee camp in Herat city December 19. [Omar]

"Afghanistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs hereby expresses its concerns over the aforementioned incident," said the ministry.

"It is greatly appreciated if the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Kabul informs the relevant authorities in Iran and to update this ministry of the results of the investigation," it said.

The Afghan government is following up on the issue through diplomatic channels, Shah Hussain Murtazawi, the deputy spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, told journalists in a December 19 WhatsApp message.

"We, too, have seen on social networks footage of Afghans being beaten up by the Iranian security forces," Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat's provincial governor, told Salaam Times. "This is a source of concern for Herat's local government, and the matter will definitely be pursued."

"Previously, reports of harassment of Afghan refugees in the hands of Iranian law enforcement agencies had reached us, and we shared our concerns with the [Afghan] government, as well as with the Iranian government through diplomatic channels," Farhad said. "We want to end all kinds of violence against immigrants in Iran."

"The situation of Afghan immigrants in Iran is gravely concerning," Ahmad Jawid Nadem, the director of the Herat branch of the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, told Salaam Times.

"We have also seen frightening images on social media pages showing Afghan refugees, most of whom teenagers and children, who are being tortured by the Iranian troops," he said.

"Immigrants who are beaten or physically abused often refrain from lodging official complaints as they are afraid of the repercussions should they ever go back to Iran," Nadem noted. "This has made our work very difficult."

He said returning Afghan migrants have, however, verbally made serious allegations and complaints about the harsh actions of the Iranian government.

Extortion, violence

Afghan refugees expelled from Iran are sharing grim stories of their abuse by Iranian forces.

"Iranian soldiers treated us inhumanely," Nader Taheri, a 31-year-old resident of Herat who was recently deported from Iran, told Salaam Times. "There were many young children with us when the Iranian authorities brought us to the camp, and [the Iranian armed forces] raped these children."

After Taheri's group was arrested, "the Iranian security forces treated us like animals and beat us badly," he said.

"They took off our clothes and kept us in a place for a few hours," Taheri said. "There, Iranian military forces raped a number of children right in front of our eyes."

"Once the Iranian police took us to prison, they told us, 'You have to get money and pay us,' but we did not have money," said Abdurrazzaq Ayubi, 29, a resident of Badakhshan Province who has left Iran and now lives in a United Nations (UN) refugee camp in Herat city.

"They beat us, harassed us, and cursed at us. They even severely beat young children to the point that they broke their arms and legs," he told Salaam Times.

"You are a bunch of bastard Afghans is what the Iranian forces will tell us," Ayubi said. "We saw many Afghans whose limbs were broken by the Iranian forces."

"When I was arrested by the Iranian police, I was subjected to a severe beating at the first police station, and when they took us to the second station, they beat me up again," Habibullah, 26, another resident of Herat who goes by one name, told Salaam Times.

"There were 36 of us," he said. "They took us inside a small house that had no roof, stripped us of our clothes, pressed our heads against walls and told us not to look at each other. "We could hear those children who were with us screaming while being raped by Iranian soldiers. We went through hell, and every moment, we could see death in front of our eyes."

Habibullah said he was severely beaten up by three soldiers using their rifle butts, adding that he was "still suffering from the consequences".

"The mistreatment of Afghan refugees by the Iranian forces was severe and intense," Ali, a 25-year-old from Bamiyan Province who left Iran and now lives in the UN refugee camp in Herat city, told Salaam Times. "Once we were taken to their prison, we were severely beaten up," he said, adding, "We were subject to such tortures as electric shocks and tear gas."

"The Iranian forces also brought in a few refugees who did not have money and broke their arms and legs," he added.

Human rights violations

"We have recorded and documented complaints made by Afghan returnees and refugees who have been forcibly deported by the Iranian government," said Abdul Qader Rahimi, the Herat provincial director of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

"They have been truly subjected to mistreatment by Iranian law enforcement officials," he said.

"Iranian troops beating immigrants is a matter of concern for us, and we have addressed the complaints of these immigrants to government agencies and have also published them in the Independent Human Rights Commission's annual reports," Rahimi said.

"It has been clearly stipulated in domestic and international laws that when a crime is committed by citizens of a country against another country's citizens, then it is the responsibility of the country of the culprits to pursue the matter to prevent it from turning into an international issue," Abdul Karim Haqyar, a Herat-based legal scholar, told Salaam Times.

"The country of which the perpetrator of a crime is a national is obligated to pursue the case," he said.

"Through legal channels, the Afghan government can place pressure on the Iranian embassy in Kabul, so that legal and judicial organisations can follow up on this case," Haqyar explained.

"This way, Iran's law enforcement officials will take necessary actions to find and arrest the perpetrators, bring them to court," he added.

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Comment Policy

When an Afghan-American officer and a reporter are in favor of the US conspiratorial scenario against Iran in the incident of drowning of Afghan refugees inside Afghanistan, then the US government must surely be involved secretly behind the bitter truth of the drowning of Afghan refugees inside the Afghan border, and plotting against Iran has been proved. The American mercenaries, who want to create problems for Iran by drowning their own compatriots, should feel ashamed, because they are ignoring all the services which the government and people of Iran have done to the Afghan refugees in the length of history. Spreading of such false news will not help in solving the problems of Afghans in regard to the presence of the terrorist Americans in Afghanistan.

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Salaam to the admin of this website. May I make a report for Youtube from the video of beating of Afghans by Iranians?

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Iran has the worst system all over the Muslim world which has no mercy at all.

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This slapping around and beating up of oppressed Afghan migrants by the Iranian security and police forces is a normal occurrence, as are extortion and shakedown of Afghan immigrants in Iran. The oppression they have committed against oppressed Afghan migrants is far more than these beatings, that you all just witnessed...!

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We can say no more. The Afghan government should return the refugees who are returned by Iran and Pakistan. The video that we watch here today on internet is a video of dignity. They treat Afghans so much badly that one would shed tears upon seeing them, so for God's sake, the Afghans may no more crush their brothers by others. They may better return the refugees, and the refugees have to be helped with. It is also wrong that why they do not come. They may better come back to the country, no one has avoided them to come. Where may they build house here? they have no land here, they have no house, they have no job and work opportunity to earn livelihood for their children, to buy house, to do something. Regards.

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Every misery and calamity that happens to the people of Afghanistan is the result of incompetence and ineptitude of Gh and Gh.

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Afghan ministry of foreign affairs itself is full of the pro-Iran individuals. You can see from their writing to the Iranian embassy showing as if the embassy is owner of Afghanistan and they [embassy] are working like their servants. They should have protested to the Iranian embassy and should have asked them to find out about the black and white of the case in this much time, else, they would have to collect their luggage and leave the country. We need neither Iran or its embassy, but our authorities know that the reason behind the poverty and insecurity in the country is a result of their [authorities'] corruption and betrayals, and these people are forced to escape to Pakistan and Iran. From more than 100 billion dollar that the American say have come to Afghanistan, if only a billion dollar were spent properly on repatriation of the refugees from Pakistan and Iran, now neither we would need the dirty Iranians nor we would need the black-faced and dirty Punjabies, but unfortunately the corruption started from Karzai's government and expanded so much that now it is not easy to eliminate it.

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