Escape from Iranian hell They shouted Take him to the

Escape from Iranian hell: “They shouted: ‘Take him to the morgue!’ and I thought that was dead”

He can hardly walk. He spends most of the day stretched out by the window of the room he’s been living in since fleeing his hometown of Mahabad in Iran’s Kurdistan on October 12 and arriving in Iraq after an arduous journey of several days through the Zagros Mountains . Peyman Golabi, 28, was helping a young man who was shot wounded when he was brutally attacked by security forces during the country’s protests over the death of Mahsa Amini. The protester’s stomach was bleeding and Peyman didn’t hesitate to use his veterinary tools to tend to him in the middle of the street. At that moment, a police officer shot him with a shotgun from a distance of three meters and hurled 200 pellets into his body. “I collapsed, fell to the ground and then several Basijs (paramilitary volunteer militiamen) started hitting me with the butt of the shotgun and kicking me,” Peyman told EL PAÍS while lying down without moving and words with great difficulty in articulating.

His brother Aso flew in from Norway to take care of him and since landing in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, he has been knocking incessantly on the doors of the main European consulates in an unsuccessful attempt to apply for a humanitarian visa to obtain with which Peyman can be evacuated to a country where it can be operated on. His story is shocking because of the abuse and extreme violence he endured in the long journey from his arrest to his escape. A violence perpetrated by a regime that in recent months has brutally repressed its citizens’ demands for freedom and democracy.

The leg of Iranian Kurd Peyman Golabi after he was shot by a shotgun containing 200 pellets. The leg of Iranian Kurd Peyman Golabi after he was shot by a shotgun containing 200 pellets.

Since the protests erupted in Iran in mid-September, dozens of Iranian Kurds, like Peyman, have crossed the border to flee the violence. Jila Mostajer, director of Hengaw, a reference organization for international media monitoring the oppression in Iranian Kurdistan, told this newspaper in a cafeteria in Erbil that 128 Kurds had died at the hands of the police and more than 7,000 had been arrested since the demonstrations began. including 209 women, 181 children, 91 students and 36 teachers. Mostajer reminds that before Amini’s death in police custody – the young woman was arrested on September 13 for wearing the veil incorrectly – the Kurds were already suffering systematic abuse from the regime, but now the pressure is greater and many students are coming to them to Iraq jail to avoid. According to the exile NGO Iran Human Rights, at least 481 Iranians have been killed since the protests began.

dragged across the floor

Up until the day his life fell apart, Peyman was involved in a project to vaccinate stray dogs in various villages in Iranian Kurdistan, one of the country’s least developed regions that had historically suffered from neglect and oppression by the Islamic Islamic and earlier Republic has suffered. the Shah’s regime.

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“They shouted at me to get up and start running, but I couldn’t, I was bleeding, I had no strength,” the young Iranian continues. Unable to get up after being beaten and shot, several police officers grabbed his ankles and dragged him more than 200 meters on the ground to the police vehicle. Because of the riots, the sidewalk was covered in glass, which ripped his shirt off and shattered his back. “When we got to the police station, they ordered me to leave, but I couldn’t either, so they dragged me across the floor inside the building and beat me there until I was semi-conscious.” At that point, they said Officials said he wasn’t breathing. “Take him to the morgue!” someone yelled, and “then I thought he was dead.”

The next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital in excruciating pain. “Two police officers watched me in my room day and night and one morning I overheard the doctor telling them that they could not operate on me due to a lack of medical tools.” The 200 pellets were spread all over his body, from his ankles to to his head, and had severely affected his knee, a spot near his heart, one testicle, and the nerves in his arm and jaw.

From prison to hospital

The security forces then decided to transfer him to a prison in Mahabad, where they locked him in a 12 square meter cell with 30 other inmates. “The room was dirty, we didn’t fit. My wounds became infected and eight days later the prison authorities informed the police that my health had deteriorated and that they had to get me out of there because I was dying.” Meanwhile, his family did not know his whereabouts and protests broke out en masse The country’s streets and hospitals filled with the wounded, guarded by police officers and waiting to be transferred to prisons, have been converted into universities, ironic to Iranians, according to the number of students they take.

The agents of the Revolutionary Guard Corps decided to get Peyman out of prison and, not knowing exactly what to do with him, they took him to another hospital, this time in the city of Urmia, in Iranian Azerbaijan, 120 kilometers from Mahabad . After the examination, the doctors came to the conclusion that they could not operate on him either. They feared government reprisals, and although those who took him to the hospital were regime agents, many doctors fear the consequences of saving a protester’s life. At that point, authorities decided to call his parents and ordered them to pick up their son and take him home on bail of about $300,000. Since the family did not have that amount, they gave the deed to the home where Peyman and his eight siblings grew up and took it with them. “I felt very bad at home. My parents didn’t know what to do. My life was in danger in Iran, so we decided that I should go,” he explains while his brother sits next to him and makes tea.

The journey through the steep mountain range that separates Iranian Kurdistan from Iraqi Kurdistan took several days. “We stopped and hid to avoid being spotted by the Iranian drones. I couldn’t sleep or walk alone, my whole body hurt.” When he arrived in Erbil, he settled in a rented house and met his brother there. “We took him to different hospitals, but they tell us that they do not have the necessary instruments to operate on him,” explains Aso, who explains in detail that they managed to extract 60 pellets from his body, but the fact that he spent three months with his body full of pellets has greatly deteriorated his health.”They didn’t shoot him in the head, but they hit him so hard that he sometimes faints, loses consciousness and is in terrible pain. He has nightmares, he’s not well .

But the lack of medical technology is not the only thing holding back Iraqi doctors. Tehran’s repression has crossed the line and there is fear of what might happen to them in their own country, where the Iranian regime is acting as if it were an extension of the Islamic Republic. An Iraqi Kurdish journalist reports that Iranian engineers are unable to find jobs in Iraq because companies fear they will work for the government.

Meanwhile, Peyman continues with his body pierced in a lonely room without a doctor to help him. European embassies tell him to wait and UN officials in Erbil are unresponsive.

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