ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iranian border guards targeted a group of Kurdish border couriers, killing one and injuring another, a human rights group said on Friday.
According to Hengaw, a rights group, the incident involved two brothers and happened on Nov. 29 in Kani Khoda, Piranshahr.
“Farhad Bayanak from Mashakan village, Piranshahr is reportedly killed in the shooting, and Sediq Bayanak has been shot in his hand and injured severely,” the group quoted a source as saying.
The rights group said two kulbar were killed and four others injured in the last 24 hours across the borders of Baneh and Piranshahr.
Kulbar is the Kurdish term for individuals who smuggle small amounts of goods across the border (“kul” meaning “back” and “bar” meaning “carrying”). Though illegal, it is a local practice that has long since been accepted as normal in the economically undeveloped areas where many residents depend on it for their livelihoods.
Iranian laws dictate that border guards can fire their weapon only if they believe the trespasser is armed and dangerous and just after observing the following procedures: first, giving an oral warning; second, firing into the air; and third, if they must open fire, targeting the lower body.
Despite this, the guards regularly shoot kulbar, and in the past six months, they have reportedly killed 21 and injured 45.
In October, an Iranian Ministry of Interior official warned Kurds living near areas bordering the Kurdistan Region not to cross over illegally as the military does not have any "red lines" that would protect local couriers in those regions.
“We no longer have a thing called by the name of kulbar; I don’t know where this word was invented,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Zulfaghari, Security and Police Deputy of the Ministry of Interior, stated.
“We have no red lines in the border areas,” the commander added. “Everyone who enters the border area will be warned, and if they do not pay attention, they will be targeted.”