The videos were released on social media in Iran on June 3, with the caption: “Iranian police shot a car full of ‘illegal’ Afghan migrants and caught fire. Many died in the interior.”
The editors of the Observateurs de France24 decided to send only blurry screenshots of these videos because of their shocking nature.
Peugeot screenshot405 on fire on the road to Yazd, in eastern Iran. In the trunk of the car, Afghan migrants were burned alive after the vehicle exploded.
In the films we see a Peugeot405 on fire, the bodies of deceased persons in the trunk and survivors on the side of the road, injured and in shock. One of them cries, while another claims water. In one of the films we hear: “The police shot the car, which caught fire, and the police car continued on the road.”
Two Afghan people injured in the video. One of them, very seriously injured, cries and asks for water. The man filming advises them to sit down and tell them: “I’ll bring you water.”
These Afghan migrants were transported by Iranian smugglers – also known as “shotis” – who smuggle clothing, alcohol and migrants to Iran, especially from Afghanistan.
They often drive at over 200 km / h to escape the police, which sometimes causes the police to shoot at their vehicles. In 2015 and 2016, accidents involving Iranian smugglers transporting Afghan migrants had already occurred, but they had not caused as many deaths as on June 3 last year.
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Another victim of the accident, who was obviously hit by burns, on the side of the road. Statements from the Iranian police
On June 5, Iranian police confirmed that the accident had occurred two days earlier, on the road between Mehriz and Yazd, in eastern Iran.
She said she noticed four cars driven by Iranian smugglers to a checkpoint: she then stopped three of them, while the fourth refused to stop. Police say a chase was started several miles ago and that they repeatedly fired as a warning before targeting the tires of the car. But it would have continued to roll for several miles, with the tires smooth, before they dropped fire and hit the barrier on the side of the road.
Police said 14 migrants were in the car, including at least one Pakistani, not to mention the driver and the fate of the other two migrants.
The burning car in eastern Iran. According to Iranian police, 14Afghan migrants were inside the vehicle. Screen capture of video blurred by France24th
Kabul requires investigation
Many Afghans shared videos from the car at TikTok to express their anger.
On June 5, Iranian state television broadcasts of Abdul Ghafoor Liwal, the Afghan ambassador to Iran, and visited the survivors at Yazd Hospital. He said he was “confident that the traffickers were responsible for the accident”. One of the survivors said in the report: “We saw that the car was burning and we asked the driver to stop driving, but he continued.”
Kabul has also ordered its embassy in Iran to investigate the accident, and many Afghan lawmakers have asked Iran to “use less lethal methods with Afghan migrants”.
Many Afghan Internet users have expressed their anger at TikTok under the hashtag “Bring me water” in Pashtun, the phrase pronounced by one of the Afghan migrants injured during the accident.
On June 7, members of an Afghan political party also protested outside the Iranian embassy in Kabul and sprayed red paint on the building.
The incident happened just one month after another drama involving Iranian police and Afghans. On May 1, Iranian border guards arrested 57 Afghan migrant workers on a river near the Iran-Afghanistan border: only 12 had survived, at least 17 had drowned, and about twenty were missing. Iran then denied that such an accident had occurred.
>> READ ABOUT: Investigation: How Iranian Border Guards Drowned Dozens of Afghan Migrants