IKHRW continues its interviews with the victims of PJAK and PKK crimes, this time with Asrin Mohammadi’s brother.
The 13-year old girl from Sardasht disappeared in August 2017 near her parents’ home in the outskirts of a small village in Sardasht. Asrin was in middle school at the time she disappeared. On April 19 2020, activists of the Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch concluded their investigation and published a shocking report around the circumstances of her disappearance. Asrin’s home had been in the outskirts of a village in Sardasht, a place regularly visited by PJAK militants. Neighbours had seen Asrin talking to them as she played outside in the fields that surrounded her home, though they failed to warn the parents before her disappearance.
Asrin’s father – angered by the kidnapping of his 13 year old daughter – has written an appeal that has been sent to IKHRW and various other international human rights organisations. It stated: “I, Hassan Mohammadi, resident of Sardasht, want to issue a complaint against the PJAK, who in August 2017 kidnapped my daughter Asrin Mohammadi – nicknamed Sonia. Despite visits by me and her mother to campsites of this group, my daughter has not been seen, neither has she returned home. Therefore, I ask for the security services of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kurdish Region Government, and international organizations, to reach out and help return Sonia, a middle school pupil. “
Unfortunately, none responded to his appeal. Asrin’s father has left Iranian Kurdistan for Qaladizah, a pro-PJAK hub in the Qandil region in North-Iraq. He has attempted to learn more there about his daughter ever since.
Local attorneys and experts that volunteer for the Iran-based Human Rights Watchdog IKHRW have investigated the disappearance of Asrin Mohammadi among a dozen other minors recruited by PJAK in the same timespan. Through local sources, they were able to confirm that after recruitment, this group of youngsters was taken to a training camp in the Qandil mountains in the Iraqi-Iranian border region.
Asrin’s brother was willing to fill us in on what happened after Asrin’s father left for Qandil.
“My father had been working with the PJAK for some time. On that occasion, members of the PJAK sometimes came to our house. Young boys and girls had the duty to come to our house and this relationship for the PJAK was contrary to the opinion of the family, especially my mother and me, but unfortunately because of my father’s cooperation with them, our house became a base for them.”
“I was a soldier the year they kidnapped my sister and one day when I came on vacation I saw that my father and mother were sad. I asked what it was. I learned that they had come to our house at night as usual, distracted my parents and taken my sister with them. I could never believe that my father was to blame. Without his communications with this group, without him taking them to our home, giving them access to our daughter, this would not have happened.”
“While we were talking, I didn’t notice my daughter and we fell asleep, but in the morning I found out that they had taken her with them. That is what he said.”
“My father was very sorry for what he had done and knew that this relationship had caused the loss of his daughter. So he decided to cut off contact with them and did not allow them to come to our house, which led to several threats against my father.”
“But it didn’t end here. When my father had announced that he would no longer cooperate with them, something else happened, and that was my father’s kidnapping. Rather, they forced him to flee, as if when my father had cut off contact with them, they had done some work on his behalf that made him wanted. They threatened to report him to the Iranian authorities, and point him as a responsible for murders, smuggling and things like that. My father left.”
“They stole both my sister and forced my father to flee, completely destroying the foundation of our family. Even when my father was in Iraq, we did not give up again and tried to get Asrin back, but unfortunately, during this struggle and our insistence, we once received news that Asrin was killed in a bombing.”
“Although my father was in Iraq and still had to help them, he asked to see her body, but they told him that there was no body. They took him somewhere and showed him a piece of stone. They told him this is where she was buried.”
“But this was not sad for us because since my sister was kidnapped, we had been following their media to see if they could find any news about Asrin or show her a picture, so we always listened to the news. Therefore, we did not believe that when we were told that Asrin was killed, there was no mention of Turkish bombings in Qandil. So how was she killed? She was never announced on the TV or on the internet as all the others…”
“I can’t believe she is dead. I’m sure this news is false, we don’t believe it. It is because of our appearances in the media that they tell us she’s dead, so we will close our mouths. My sister was just a child. What does she know about armed struggle? I’m sure they’ve hidden her somewhere far away, in Turkey or Syria.”