KHRN publishes its 2021 report on human rights violations in Rojhilat

According to the KHRN report, a total of 202 activists, women and young people lost their lives for political, security, economic and social reasons in Rojhilat (East Kurdistan) last year.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) published its annual report of human rights violations committed by the Iranian regime against the Kurdish population in the country in 2021.

The report addresses the human rights situation in 2021 in relation to the Kurdish people in Iran. As in previous years, the rights of Kurdish people have continued to be violated due to their language, religions, culture, genders, sexual orientations, and class and political affiliations by the Islamic Republic’s discriminatory laws and repressive and violent crackdowns by its security, military, judicial, and executive institutions.

KHRN said they believe that this report does not cover all cases of violations of the rights of the Kurdish people in Iran; “There are certainly many other cases that have not been reported by news outlets and human rights organisations for various reasons, including the pressure of security agencies on individuals and families.”

The human rights violations committed by the Iranian regime forces against the Kurdish people were listed as follows:

Kolbars and Tradesmen

In 2021, at least 46 Kurdish kolbars lost their lives and 122 kolbars were injured in the border areas of the western provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, and Kermanshah as a result of shootings by border forces, natural disasters etc.

Of the 46 kolbars that lost their lives, 17 were killed by Iranian military forces and four by Turkish forces.

One child kolbar committed suicide after border forces confiscated his mules.

In addition, five kolbars lost their lives due to the fall of an avalanche, three as a result of frostbite, three due to falling from mountain heights, three due to heart attacks while carrying goods, one drowned in a river, and nine in road accidents.

Also, of the 122 injured kolbars, 74 were shot and tortured by Iranian border forces, three kolbars were shot by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), three were shot and tortured by the Turkish border forces, and one was shot by Iraqi border forces, 12 fell from border heights, and three were injured in landmine explosions.

In addition, 26 kolbars were injured in various other incidents.

Also in 2021, Iranian military forces killed at least five Kurdish tradesmen and wounded one as a result of a direct shooting.

Killings of Civilians

Iranian forces killed four Kurdish civilians throughout the year.

Yasser Mohammadi was shot by special forces in a vehicle under the pretext that the people in the vehicle looked “suspicious”.

Behzad Hatami-Asl and Farhad Zandi were shot by the police on the roads of Khoy, West Azerbaijan province, and Dehgolan, Kurdistan province, under the pretext of “ fighting against smuggling”.

Additionally, military officers killed Habib (Hagh-Morad) Rostami near the Parvizkhan border in Qasr-e Shirin, Kermanshah province.


Throughout the year, at least 30 prisoners were executed in various prisons in the western provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Ilam.

These included 15 executions on murder-related charges and 14 on drug-related charges.

One of the prisoners who was accused of “premeditated murder” was a “child offender” named Sajjad Sanjari. He had been arrested in 2010 at the age of 15 on charges of “premeditated murder”. On 2 August 2021, he was secretly executed in Dizel Abad Prison in Kermanshah after serving 11 years in prison.

Additionally, Iran executed a Kurdish political prisoner named Heydar Ghorbani in Sanandaj Central Prison on 19 December on the charges of “armed insurrection” (baghi). Ghorbani’s execution, which was carried out without the knowledge of his family and lawyer, was widely protested against by the people of Kurdistan and by human rights organisations.

Killings and Deaths of Civilians in Detention Centres and Prisons

In 2021, six Kurdish prisoners were tortured to death in Iran’s detention facilities and prisons.

These included Danial Zein Al-Abedini in Mahabad Prison, Nasser Karimi in Bukan Prison, Amir Rezaei in Orumiyeh Central Prison, Rahman Ahmadi in the detention centre of the Iranian Public Security and Intelligence Police (PAVA), Mehrdad Taleshi in the detention centre of the Criminal Investigation Department, Amir Hossein Hatami in Fashafuyeh Prison in Tehran, and Khosrow Jamalifar in Sanandaj Central Prison.

Also, the Intelligence Organisation of the IRGC shot six Kurdish civilians named Ahmad Rassan, in the village of Mowlik in Maku; Yasser Mangouri, Osman Naderi, and Abdollah Naderi in Piranshahr; Asad Ramin and Davoud Rahimi in the village of Qarna in Naqadeh while detaining them.

The IRGC intelligence service told the families of these civilians that they had been killed at the time of detention. However, it was not clear to the families how the victims lost their lives, as they neither received the bodies nor death certificates of the victims.

In addition, throughout the year, four Kurdish prisoners lost their lives either due to medical malpractice or lack of access to medical services. These prisoners were Shahab Darounpar, 35, in Eslamabad-e Gharb Prison; Iraj Alizadeh, 50, in Khoy Prison; Shamsaddin Tatari, 55, in Orumiyeh Central Prison; Ruhollah Maleki, 30, in Ilam Central Prison.

Assassinations of Political Activists Abroad

In 2021, forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran assassinated four Kurdish political activists and members of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) overseas.

These activists were Mehdi Rezaei (Zagros Mani), Ako Fathi (Shawgar Chia), Behrouz (Rebin) Rahimi, and Musa Babakhani in the cities of Penjwin, Sulaimaniyah, and Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Although the Islamic Republic of Iran, as in other cases, has not claimed responsibility for any of these political assassinations, the respective parties of the victims have blamed the Iranian government for the attacks.


In 2021, at least 32 cases of femicide were registered in Kurdistan. These murders were generally committed by the men in the family for various reasons.

Landmine Explosions

In 2021, explosions of landmines and remnants of other explosives killed at least 14 individuals and injured at least 25 others. The victims included at least two children and two kolbars.

Worker Accidents

Throughout the year, at least 42 workers lost their lives and three others were injured in work accidents.

These included eight cases taking place in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the rest mainly in Iranian Kurdistan.

Asylum Seekers

In 2021, at least six Kurdish civilians hoping to seek asylum in European countries lost their lives abroad.

Four of these cases took place in Greece and one in Germany.

Another asylum seeker set himself on fire in front of the UN office in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, protesting against the uncertainty of his asylum case.

Additionally, a young man who wanted to go to the UK and seek asylum disappeared in Turkey after crossing the border.

Detentions and Arrests

In 2021, at least 421 Kurdish civilians and activists were arrested for political reasons by the security, law enforcement, and judicial institutions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Some 296 of these people were civilians, 81 were activists, 10 were children, eight were former political prisoners, five were former members of Kurdish opposition parties, and eight were journalists, artists, and writers.

Among these individuals, 44 were imprisoned to serve various sentences.

At least 74 were taken to the detention facilities of the Ministry of Intelligence and 30 to the detention centres of the Intelligence Organisation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Prison Sentences

In 2021, Iranian general and revolutionary courts sentenced at least 98 Kurds to sentences varying from two months in prison to the death penalty.