The bodies of 18 Afghan migrants who were allegedly drowned by Iranian border police nine days ago were found on Saturday, Herat’s local officials said.
Over 50 Afghan migrants were trying to cross the border when they were “tortured and drowned” by Iranian guards, according to eyewitnesses.
Last week, an Afghan official said that so far 16 of the Afghan nationals have been rescued, 18 to 20 are missing, and 16 bodies have been found. Today, the total is 34 bodies found.
A Herat official said that the Afghan delegation has started investigating the incident today in Gulran district.
Bebe Hura, the mother of a victim named Abdul Bari, called for justice, and for the punishment of the perpetrators.
“The murderers of my son must be found, and these murderers must be arrested and should be sentenced to death,” said Bebe Hura.
Abdul Bari was the only breadwinner for his seven-member family in Herat.
Unemployment and poverty forced Bari to leave Herat for Iran to support his family, said his mother.
“My son went to Iran due to hunger, I told him to not go--I will be start begging--but he told me that there is no jobs in Afghanistan and 'how can I bring food for you?' We don’t have a house or land and we are not even able to pay the house’s rent,” said Abdul Bari’s mother.
“The perpetrators must be brought to court. Why are they are killing innocent people?” said a relative of Abdul Bari, adding that “Islam does not allow such acts and they didn't do anything, but they were drowned.”
Azizullah and Ahmad are the two survivors of the incident.
“We begged a lot and cried and said that we don't know how to swim, but the Iranian police started shooting at us and we were forced to jump into the river. All of us jumped into the river and a few were able to rescue themselves, but we lost 30 to 35 people--we pull-out the bodies of five people,” said Azizullah.
Ahmad, another witness said: “The police was beating us with wood. They started shooting at us and we all jumped into the river.”
The Iranian government has rejected the involvement of its border guards in the incident.