At least 160 cases of kolbar deaths and injuries were reported in Iran’s Kurdish populated areas in 2021, according to a report from a human rights group.

Various conditions resulted in the deaths of at least 46 Kurdish kolbars and the injury of over a hundred others, the Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) said in its annual report on Tuesday.

Out of the 46 murdered, “17 were killed by Iranian military forces and four by Turkish forces,” the report added, as kolbars are the frequently targeted by Iranian border guards. Another kolbar, 17, committed suicide after the border guards confiscated his mules.

Kolbars are semi-legal porters who transport untaxed goods across the Kurdistan Region-Iran border and occasionally the Iran-Turkey border. Most are pushed into the profession by poverty and a lack of alternative employment, which are particularly rampant in Iran’s Kurdish provinces.

Aside from being targets of the border guards, they often fall victims to natural disasters.

Avalanches, frostbite, road accidents, drowning, and falling from mountain heights are also causes of numerous kolbar deaths, with an estimated 24 kolbars perishing from such causes in 2021.

KHRN’s latest report also addressed the execution of prisoners in the Kurdish areas.

“At least 30 prisoners were executed in various prisons in the western provinces of West Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and Ilam,” it read.

Heidar Ghorbani was executed on December 19, without the knowledge of his family, according to the watchdog.

The watchdog’s data showed that four Kurdish political activists of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I) were assassinated overseas.

KDPI member Mousa Babakhani was found dead, bearing signs of torture in Erbil in August.

The KDPI is a Kurdish party which has waged an on-and-off armed war against the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is based in the Kurdistan Region.

Source » rudaw