Joint explanation of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN, or Network) and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC, or Center): This case is a part of the collaborative documentation of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center. The Kurdistan Human Rights Network intends to gradually document cases of extrajudicial executions of Kurdish citizens and activists. For this purpose, the network has used the experiences and research methodology of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, which has been active in the field of documenting human rights violations in Iran for many years. The report of this case and subsequent reports will be published in the “documentation” section of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network website and the “Omid Memorial” of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center. Some of the original and follow-up interviews used in this documentation were conducted by the Center, some by the Network, and some in collaboration.
Information related to the case of Mr. Farshad Chechani, the son of Maliheh Shah-Moradi and Esmaeil Chechani, has been obtained through interviews conducted by KHRN with an eyewitness present on the scene immediately after the incident (October 13, 2018), with an informed source (February 18 and 19, 2022), a civil society activist from Paveh (May 9, 2023), and an ABC interview with a former ward-mate (May 3, 2022). Additional information was sourced from IRNA news agency (October 13, 2018), ISNA news agency (October 13, 2018) and various websites including Giareng (January 3, 2019), Deutsche Welle (July 10, 2019), the official website of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (February 16, 2016), Kurdistan Media (October 13, 2018), the website of the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (October 13, 2018), the official website of the PDKI (October 13, 2018), the Telegram channel of Kurdpa (October 12, 2018), Akam News (October 22, 2018) and Bultan News (October 17, 2018).
Mr. Chechani was born in 1979 in a large family in the city of Paveh, Kermanshah Province. He completed his primary and secondary education in the Sardarreh neighborhood of the same city. Mr. Chechani did not lead a prosperous life and had various occupations, including working as a construction worker, farmer, and walnut picker. He was also an irrigation manager outside the city of Paveh. He frequently traveled between the city and the villages, especially before sunrise, when gardens are usually watered (KHRN interview, February 18 and 19, 2022, and ABC interview, May 3, 2022).
Mr. Chechani was unmarried and was the sixth child in a family of ten. He had been summoned and interrogated several times by security authorities due to his communication with individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI). He was detained for political reasons at least once in 1998. Mr. Chechani was also detained for a few months in 2009 on charges of possessing alcoholic beverages, and he was acquitted after proving his innocence. He was described by his acquaintances as a popular, reserved, self-contained, well-read, and politically sensitive individual. Mr. Chechani was not a member of any political organization (ABC interview, May 3, 2023).
Background on the Formation of the Kurdistan Democratic Party
The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) was established on August 16, 1945, with the goal of achieving autonomy for Iranian Kurdistan. According to the party’s charter, this political organization was founded based on “national ideas and the organizational structure of the Society for Kurdish Resurrection (KJK), with a realistic and contemporary approach.” The party was founded by a prominent Kurdish figure, Qazi Muhammad. KJK was the founder of the Republic of Kurdistan in Mahabad. The Republic of Kurdistan existed from January 22, 1946, to December 15, 1946, and ultimately fell after 11 months. After going through a period of armed struggle in the 1960s, marked by internal disputes, the party eventually re-emerged as a political party on the verge of the Iranian Revolution. In 2006, due to internal disputes, the party split into two organizations: the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (HDK). After 15 years of separation, these two parties announced their reintegration on August 22, 2022.
Extrajudicial Killing of Mr. Farshad Chechani
According to available information, Mr. Farshad Chechani was targeted and killed on Friday, October 12, 2018, at 8:00 AM local time in a recreational area near the city of Paveh, at the beginning of the Bidmeiri dirt road, during a confrontation between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces and members of a Kurdish opposition party. According to an informed source in Paveh, before the clash, the special forces of the Revolutionary Guards, armed with semi-heavy weapons, had surrounded the area where the Democratic Party’s peshmargas were present with non-military vehicles. In images released by unofficial government sources, bullet marks from light and semi-heavy weapons can be seen on the walls of the building where the clashes took place (Report of KHRN, October 13, 2018; KHRN interview, October 13, 2018; Telegram of Kurdpa, October 12, 2018).
The PDKI, in an official statement, reported the killing of two of its members, Shaho Veysi and Zanyar Eslami, and the killing of three IRGC members. The party also confirmed the death of an ordinary civilian named Farshad Chechani (Kurdistan Media and Official Website of the PDKI, October 13, 2018). Government sources also confirmed the occurrence of the clash and the deaths of two members of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and one ordinary civilian but did not provide information about the casualties among their forces (IRNA news agency and ISNA news agency, October 13, 2018).
Based on reports and available information, Mr. Chechani was hit by at least two bullets. The first bullet hit his leg, and the second bullet hit his side or heart area. It appears that the second bullet was fired after Mr. Chechani fell from the motorcycle due to the impact of the first bullet. He then attempted to change his position, but he was targeted again by security forces (KHRN interview, February 18 and 19, 2022).
Although the Ministry of Intelligence initially claimed responsibility for the clashes in a statement, eyewitnesses and those close to Mr. Chechani stated that he was killed by bullets from the central command of the IRGC in Javanrud, Kermanshah Province (KHRN interview, May 9, 2022). The security website Bultan News also reported the parties of the clash as “military security forces of the country” and armed members of a Kurdish opposition party (Bultan News, October 17, 2018).
Regarding the reasons for Mr. Chechani’s presence in the area, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan announced he had gone there to recreate (Kurdistan Media, October 13, 2018). An informed source also said that Mr. Chechani “was occupied with work managing the irrigation of the gardens of Veymir [Bidmeiri] before his death, and was in the area with the intent to work” (ABC interview, May 3, 2022).
Mr. Chechani’s body was handed over to his family and was buried in a ceremony attended by family and friends at the Haji cemetery in Paveh. The funeral ceremony for Mr. Chechani took place on October 13, 2018, at the Shohada Mosque in the city (KHRN interview, February 18 and 19, 2022).
Apart from the official statement by the Ministry of Intelligence, in which the clash between the “Anonymous Soldiers of Imam Zaman” (a term used to identify the Islamic Republic’s intelligence agents) and a “separatist terrorist group in the western region of the country” was confirmed, other government bodies and official authorities did not directly react to this confrontation. However, media outlets close to security institutions, such as Bultan News and Akam News, reported on the details of the clash, framing it as a military security success. These reports also emphasized Mr. Chechani’s affiliation with the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and described him as a “human shield” (Bultan News, October 17, 2018; Akam News, October 22, 2018).
According to available information, Mr. Chechani’s family has not pursued action regarding his murder case in Iranian judicial courts.