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Legal Matters

Social Media Users Condemn Unlawful Deadly Police Force Against Karaj Man

Video footage showing a policeman unlawfully shooting a suspect in the Mehrshahr district of Karaj, a city west of Tehran, was met with widespread condemnation on social media networks by Persian speakers who condemned the use of excessive force.

A video clip shared on Twitter shows a policeman overpowering a man and firing a shot at close range; the victim later died in a hospital. Iranian authorities have not officially released his name but unverified reports on social media identified him as Morteza Jafari.

Shortly after the incident on September 4, 2021, the police chief in Alborz Province, Abbasali Mohammadian, claimed “a bullet was accidentally fired and struck the suspect… when a policeman took him to the ground and was trying to handcuff him.”

Iranian law requires armed forces to reduce the chances of death when using force.

Article 2 of the Law on the Use of Weapons by the Armed Forces in an Emergency states that law enforcement agents must have “complete control of their weapon” while Article 7 stipulates that they should “preferably target the legs to make sure it does not cause death or hurt third parties.”

Article 2 also requires the authorities to “take care of injured persons and transfer them to medical centers as soon as possible.”

Yet Iranian authorities often attempt to justify deadly and excessive force by security forces by claiming without evidence that the forces were confronting “thugs” or “dangerous suspects.”

Similar social media uproar erupted in October 2020 over Mehrdad Sepehri’s death as a result of being pepper sprayed and tasered by the police while handcuffed on a sidewalk in Mashhad, northeastern Iran.

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

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