IRAN

Ultraviolent arrest in Iran

This video of a police arrest has been circulating on the Iranian blogosphere since Monday. The man arrested was accused of stealing money and a mobile phone. Read more and see the video...

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This video of a police arrest has been circulating on the Iranian blogosphere since Monday. The man arrested was accused of stealing money and a mobile phone.

The contents of the footage is so violent that we couldn't show all of it. The film we're publishing here has been cut. At the end of the video, the alleged thief, who has just been beaten by a policeman, is put into the boot of the car.

The video was published online by the organisation Human Rights Activists in Iran. We showed it to several of our Iranian Observers, who confirmed the credibility of the document. One of them, Reza Moïni, specialised in human rights in Iran and originally from the town where the arrest took place, explains the situation to The Observers.

 

"He said he was just looking for a cat'"

Reza Moïni runs the human rights information website Bidaran.net. He lives in Paris.

I'm from Khorramabad, where the video was shot. It's a very poor region of Iran, where 70% of people are unemployed. The police speak to the thief in Luri, the local dialect, and not in Farsi. They arrested the man because he's accused of stealing someone's money and mobile phone. When the police ask him where the money is, he said he was just looking for a cat. They then search and undress him, and say they've found 5,000 toman, brandishing a wad of banknotes, which they say is proof he committed the crime.

The video seems absolutely credible to me, because I know that the Iranian police commit this type of violence. That was the case under the Shah, it just wasn't done in the street in full public view.

I did notice though that the person filming is very close to the scene. The policeman knows that he's there. He even says "go on, film" at the start of the video. So I wonder who actually did the filming and how they leaked the images. It's possible that the scene was filmed by police staff. But not someone from the neighbourhood, because he's spoken to in Farsi."