Mohammed Amini   

Bukan is a city in Kurdistan where some of the largest protests against the Iranian government have taken place in recent weeks. Now, the Iranian regime has sent thousands of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces to the city to put down the protests and create an atmosphere of terror.

A woman living in Bukan reports that: “The crimes that the inhumane and un-Islamic regime of Iran has committed in Bukan and other cities of Kurdistan during this period cannot be written by pen nor expressed by language.”

She is the aunt of two teenagers, aged 16 and 14, who were arrested two weeks ago during a demonstration.

Quoting one of her nieces, she said that the authorities had arrested 15 girls and 16 boys at the demonstration: “They took us to Bukan governorate. They soaked us with a fire truck and then they separated us. They tortured us severely. Then they asked us to take off our clothes They raped us with cables, then the mercenary forces raped us.”

The woman, who did not want to be named due to the security situation, said that they were able to secure the release of the 14-year-old after a week by paying a bribe. A few days later, the girl attempted suicide, but survived.

Crying, she said: “I can’t talk anymore. My sister and three brothers are injured. I don’t know how to talk about all these crimes of the Iranian regime. Take my voice to the court in The Hague. May they prevent the massacre of our youth, thousands of people. They have been arrested and are under severe torture. There are many dead bodies in Bukan Hospital.”

Since the beginning of the protests following the murder of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini, Bukan has been an epicenter of protests in Kurdistan. Before the anniversary of the 2019 protests, two protesters were killed between November 15-17. But they are only some of those who have been killed by the security forces.

The names of some of the protestors who were killed were recently announced:

1. Saman Ghaderbegi

2. Asad Rahimi

3. Mohammad Hasanzade

4. Salar Mojawr

5. Ghafoor Molodi

6. Hajar Mam Khosravi

7. Hiva Jan Jan

8. Imjad Enayati

9. Mustafa Sha’abani

10. Milad Ma’rufi

11. Shahriar Mohammadi

12. Suleiman Shukri

13. Saad Shahrokhi

14. Hemin Aman

15. Kamal Faqehi

16. Ebrahim Sharifi

17. Awat Qadirpour

According to activists in Bukan, a number of protest leaders have also been assassinated, Mohammad Hassan Zadeh, Shahryar Mohammadi, and Hemn Aman. These murders were planned in advance by the authorities. 

These names are only some of those who have been killed, according to reports.

The IRGC has threatened the families of those killed, warning that if the news of their child’s murder is disclosed that their other children will face the same fate. Therefore, it is likely that the number of those killed is much higher than is publicly known.

One example that has been presented is Jafar Faqihi, who was shot by the IRCG in Bukan shortly after his brother of Kamal Faqihi was also killed. Jafar was shot on November 25, while sitting in his car with his wife. He was severely wounded in the thigh and abdomen.

To suppress the demonstrations in Bukan, the IRGC has moved a large number of its forces to the city from Shahin Dej, Takab, and Miandoab.

The IRGC has also sent a special military force, known as the Nakhsa, or the Spontaneous Forces of Islamic Lands. This is an extremist group and has experience of fighting in Iraq and Syria and played a key role in suppressing protests during the 2019 demonstrations.

The Nakhasa group will take the lead in repressing the protests in Bukan. It has already conducted military maneuvers in the city and established checkpoints inside and outside the city. At these checkpoints, people’s cars and even cell phones are checked for videos of the protests.

In such an atmosphere full of repression and intimidation, it is very difficult to get information, but after a lot of effort, I was able to communicate with several activists in the city.

According to these activists, the regime forces are seeking to arrest the protesters, especially those who have been wounded and are secretly receiving treatment.

A lot of pressure is being put on medical centers and pharmacies and a large number of medical staff have been arrested.

At night, the IRGC forces attack the city’s neighborhoods, breaking down the doors of the houses and arrest youths suspected of participating in the protests. The IRGC frightens the population by shooting guns and using sound bombs.

The exact number of those arrested who have been arrested is not available, because most have been transferred to Urmia, including those who have been wounded. In the recent days, the bodies of a number of wounded protesters have been returned to the city.

Activists in Bukan believe that the silence of the international community has given the Iranian authorities a free hand in the city, which has contributed to the severity of the repression. They are calling for this silence be broken in order to prevent more crimes.