Behnam Laygehpour — A Young Protestor Killed in Front of the Love of his Life

by Farzad Seifikaran — 15October2022

“Behnam was lying wounded on the ground, and one of the officers was standing over him with a gun not letting anyone help him.”

Behnam Layeghpour, a young man from Rasht, is another victim of the Iran protests. He planned to marry his girlfriend, Ghazal, before Norooz (March 2023), but he was brutally killed while the love of his life was watching. Security forces blocked her from trying to save his life.

According to the information provided by an informed source to Zamaneh, on Wednesday, September 21, Behnam Layeghpour, his fiancee and one of his friends, were on their way to a mobile phone shop. Around 9:30 that same evening, he was shot while security forces opened fire on Lakani Blvd. in Rasht.

“As soon as they got out of the car, people ran behind them about 10 meters from inside Lakani Street, and security forces on motorcycles were chasing them and shooting at them. At this moment, Behnam told his girlfriend to run away, and they started running with his friend. Like everyone else, his girlfriend was a few steps ahead, and Behnam was behind her, but the security forces caught Behnam in the alley and shot him from a very close distance. Then they stood over Behnam’s body with a gun and said that if anyone comes forward to help, they will beat them…” the source told Zamaneh.

According to this source, security forces shot Behnam Layeghpour’s throat and chest twice with pellets, covering his entire face and throat with pellet wounds. Due to the close distance that Behnam was shot at, the bullets tore his throat artery, penetrating his lung.

The security forces beat spectators, including Behnam’s fiance, with batons.

“The security forces on motorcycles threatened Behnam’s fiancé and his friend and beat them with batons. After they (security forces) left, the door of a nearby parking garage opened, and a man came out who said he was an emergency doctor, bringing Behnam inside. The man gave Behnam an IV and oxygen in the parking garage, but Behnam was bleeding heavily. Amidst the chaos, they lost their car keys and they did not have a vehicle to take Behnam to the hospital. Behnam’s fiance was trying to stop a car on the street to take Behnam to the hospital, but no one would take them; everyone said it was risky and that they wouldn’t do it. Finally, the man who helped Behnam took Behnam to Poor Sina hospital in his car. But Behnam died on the way to the hospital…” the source added.

This source says that the forces that shot Behnam Layeghpour were motorcyclists wearing camouflage uniforms, and that it is most likely that they were special forces.

The source explained that Poor Sina Hospital was very crowded, as there were many injured citizens in the hospital, so it took about 10 minutes to get a stretcher to transfer Behnam to the hospital:

“Everything took a long time; maybe if it were faster, Behnam would have been saved… They performed CPR, but Behnam never came back…”

After Behnam Layeghpour died, his body was taken to the morgue, and the security forces told his fiance and family at 2 AM on Thursday, September 22, that Behnam’s body should be taken to forensics:

“His girlfriend said it was unnecessary to take him to the medical examiner at that hour, but they should start the procedure as soon as possible… Finally, his girlfriend started crying and argued with them, and they did not take the body to the forensic doctor that night. Behnam’s body stayed in the morgue for three nights, and his girlfriend stayed in front of the morgue all those three nights so that his body would not be taken anywhere else.

After three nights, on Sunday, September 25, Behnam Layeghpour’s body was handed over to his family. They were told he should be buried in Behesht Rezvan Cemetery. They were also told that they would not be allowed to hold a ceremony. According to Zamaneh’s source, despite the security forces’ warning, Behnam’s funeral was crowded, and many relatives were present.

The source told Zamaneh that when Behnam Layeghpour’s family received his body and opened the shroud, his entire head was split, which made them question how, when the bullet hit his throat and lung, did they split his head?

Zamaneh’s source also told us that in the court, the family of Behnam Layeghpour was forced to sign a document committing not to inform the media, not to hold a funeral ceremony, not to file a complaint, and not to announce the main cause of death. The cause of Behnam’s death is stated as “cardiac arrest” on the death certificate.

A large number of security forces were also present at the funeral. During the funeral ceremony of Behnam Layeghpour, women took off their headscarves as a sign of protest and sang “Yar-e Dabestani”, a famous song of protest in Iran.

According to Zamaneh’s source, Behnam Layeghpour’s fiance has been summoned to the Intelligence Department.

The source has told us that in the same area where Behnam Layeghpour was killed, at least four other people were injured in the security force shooting.

Behnam Layeghpour was born on January 28, 1986, and was 36 years old when he was killed. He owned a tattoo and piercing parlor and was the youngest child in his family.

Behnam Layeghpour’s friends have been posting his photos on the walls throughout the city of Rasht to keep his memory alive.

Behnam wrote in his last Instagram post regarding the protests against the government murder of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini that he has paused his work activities out of respect for the people of Iran.

Zhina (Mahsa) Amini was a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died after falling into a coma following her detention by morality police enforcing hijab in Tehran.

The protests against the government’s murder of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini started on Friday, September 16, after the medical team at Tehran’s Kasra hospital pronounced Zhina dead, shaping the first protests in front of Kasra hospital in Tehran. Protests continued after Zhina’s funeral in her hometown of Saqqez when mourners organized a peaceful rally outside the city’s governor’s office. Security forces outside the office responded to protestors with tear gas and opened fire. The protest spread in nearly all of Iran’s 31 provinces.

According to Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO), as of October 14, 2022, at least 201 people, including at least 23 children, have been killed in the recent nationwide protests across Iran.

The protests against the government’s murder of Mahsa started on Friday, September 16, after the medical team at Tehran’s Kasra hospital pronounced Mahsa dead, shaping the first protests in front of Kasra hospital in Tehran. Protests continued after Mahsa’s funeral in her hometown of Saqqez when mourners organized a peaceful rally outside the city’s governor’s office. Security forces outside the office responded to protestors with tear gas and opened fire. Now the protest has spread in nearly all of Iran’s 31 provinces.

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died after falling into a coma following her detention by morality police enforcing hijab in Tehran.

According to reports by Amnesty International published on September 23rd, over 52 people including children, have been killed by security forces using deadly weapons in the nationwide protests against the murder of Mahsa Amini.

+Zamaneh Media

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