Baluch Diaspora Commemorate the victims of Zahedan Bloody Friday in Stockholm
Almost two weeks after the tragic murder of Miss Zhina Amini, a young Kurdish woman who lost her life in police custody following her arrest for an "improper hijab" by the morality police on September 30, 2022, hundreds of Baluch citizens gathered for a peaceful demonstration after Friday prayers in Zahedan. The peaceful demonstrations in Zahedan were met with a brutal response from security forces, marked by unprecedented and indiscriminate firing.
The protests which took place September 30 were also a response to the rape of a 15-year-old Baluch girl, referred in media by the pseudonym, Maho Baluch1, which came to light in June 2022. This incident involved Ebrahim Kou-chakzai, a police chief, who allegedly committed the rape during the interrogation of the 15-year-old Baluch girl in Chabahar, a port city in the Sistan and Baluchestan province. The girl had been brought in for questioning in connection to a nearby murder case, but during the process, the police chief grossly violated her rights by insisting on "inspecting her body" and subsequently molesting and raping her. The girl later confided in her mother about the assault, sparking widespread anger and outrage within the Baluch community. The incident was publicly disclosed by an imam from the mosque in Sarbaz, with the revelations coming just a few days after the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini, further fueling the growing frustration and discontent among the people of Baluchistan.
The Iranian authorities attempted to cover up human rights abuses, excessive use of force, and extrajudicial killings by labeling the protesters as “separatists” and “violent agitators”.
However, according to an Amnesty International report “beyond a minority of protesters throwing stones towards the police station, Amnesty International has found no evidence that, more generally, protesters and bystanders engaged in acts of violence during the Mosalla incident on 30 September that would pose a threat to life or serious injury to security forces or others and would justify the use of lethal force used against them.” 2
In the past year since the horrifying incident, countless protests have been held both in Iran and across the world, condemning the oppressive and brutal actions of the Iranian authorities. Marking the one-year anniversary of the protest, in order to honor and remember Miss Zhina Amini, a large demonstration was organized in Stockholm last Saturday.
One of these demonstrations was held in Stockholm city center on 30 September. Among the participants present were Mr. Rostam Mirlashari, a prominent Baluch musician, and Fariba Borhanzahi, a Baluchi woman rights activist.
Fariba Borhanzahi expressed her sentiments about the protest, saying, “We organized this protest to unite and raise our voice against the crime the Iranian regime is committing in Baluchistan. We are here to commemorate the victims of Zahedan’s bloody Friday and show our solidarity with the families of the victims and the survivors.”
Farzaneh Rigi, another Baluch human rights activist highlighted in her interview with the UNPO that the protests that took place one year ago in Baluchistan were peaceful, however, the Iranian government ruthlessly quashed the protest through a violent and bloody crackdown.
The UNPO in turn commemorates the victims and survivors of the Zahedan Bloody Friday and extends its support to the people of Baluchistan in their struggle for dignity and human rights.
Photo credit: Stefan Rotter
1 note: The real name of the girl raped has not been made public under the Baluch and Iranian customs and traditions of protecting the identity of rape victims to save them from stigmatization. However, local media used the pseudonym Maho Baluch to refer to her. The incident has also been reported in BBC report here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-64675060.
2 Amnesty International. (2022, October 27). Iran: At least 82 Baluchi protesters and bystanders killed in bloody crackdown. Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/10/iran-at-least-82-baluchi-protesters-and-bystanders-killed-in-bloody-crackdown/.