Iranian Kurds bury actor, filmmaker brothers killed in arson car fire
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hundreds of Iranian Kurds on Sunday participated in a funeral procession of two brothers who were reportedly killed in an arson car fire two days earlier.
Kurds, among them local artists and activists, from different parts of Kurdistan Province, marched with the coffins of the two brothers in the province’s Baneh city, near which the incident occurred.
The marchers were holding signs and pictures of famous Kurdish filmmaker Paikar Zabihi and theatrical actor Kaywan Zabihi, and mourning their loss.
The bodies of the two brothers were reportedly found burned beyond recognition with limbs bound in a car. A forensics team later identified them.
The vehicle was steered off-road in the outskirts of the Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) city of Baneh, with flames still rising from it as witnesses arrived at the scene.
Videos posted on social media showed a man trying to put out the flames using a fire extinguisher.
Kurdistan Province Police Chief Ali Azadi on Sunday said they had arrested the individual behind the incident, according to Iran’s semi-official media outlet, Tasnim.
“The killer, in his confession, admitted that the reason behind the action was a financial dispute,” Chief Azadi claimed.
A source close to the Zabihi family, however, later alleged that the authorities had a hand in the deaths of the two men, Hengaw rights group reported on Sunday, although, they did not provide substantive evidence for their claim.
“Zabihi was busy making a documentary on the lives of kulbars [couriers] who Iranian border guards regularly kill,” the source said, asking to remain anonymous for security reasons.
Zabihi then sent his film to the local office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (MCIG), the source continued.
After this, “the [MCIG] had strongly criticized [Zabihi] and summoned him to the police station multiple times.”
The source also said the ministry’s strong opposition to the filmmaker’s work, the nature of which is critical to the security forces of Iran, leads him to believe they were involved in the incident.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany