Amin was tricked into joining PJAK with prior planning. He had just finished mandatory military conscription, and was about to start his adult life.
The families of the deceived or kidnapped members of PJAK (Iranian Kurds) want their voices to be heard, their pains to be seen, and that someone will come to their aid and help them with their many problems.
One of the several Iranian Kurdish families involved in these issues that have become victims of PJAK’s recruitment politics is the family of Amin Golestani.
The family remains in uncertainty concerning Amin’s fate, as PJAK members are not allowed to remain in contact with their family members, not even send a simple letter or a phone call once in every while. The family believes Amin was tricked into joining the group, and is now held against his will. PKK affiliated groups do not accept resignation, the only way for a member to leave the group is by risking their life while running away.
Ex-members have described the PKK and its Iranian affiliate PJAK as prison camps, with nearly no possibility of leaving them.
Amin Golestani’s brother stated in an interview with Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch:
“My brother was deceived with prior planning. The card which shows he had ended his military conscription had only just arrived.”
“My younger brother Amin was very fond of mountain climbing and we always went to the mountains with the family. We would go on long hikes to hidden valleys and springs, and camp there all together. But before he left the family, I heard that he had gone to the mountain alone in the Shahu region a few days before. I am sure that he was exactly there when he met the PJAK members, as they roam through the mountains there. I believe they had deceived Amin before he even left our house, and planned to take him! This is proven by him erasing the phone serial numbers on their boxes at home, I’m sure this was taught to him by the PJAK members that had contacted him, so that we can’t find a trace of him.”
“After leaving school, Amin worked as a mechanic. He was really one of the best mechanics in the city. He never spoke about any party with the family, even our family had no interest in these armed groups. Amin is a very calm boy.”
“We didn’t have any problems within the family, nor financial problems. I don’t know what trick those people used to deceive Amin.”
“I remember exactly that it was June 7, 2019, when Amin disappeared. Before that, he had informed his friend that he wanted to meet PJAK there, but he quickly turned off his phone. After that, we searched all the surrounding areas of the city for a month. I went around and found their various campsites in the mountains, and asked them about my brother, but they didn’t give me any correct answers, until I found some of them in Shahu region and asked about my brother. They said that Amin has become a member of PJAK. But there is no news of him.”
“A year after this case, I went to Iraqi Kurdistan and searched all the areas of Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, Qandil and Penjwen, but they didn’t let me see my brother, they didn’t even show me a picture of him.”
“Even now, almost 4 years have passed since my brother was gone, and there is not a single day that my parents do not call me and ask about Amin, if there is any news.”
“I’m tired, I don’t know where and how to look for my little brother, I don’t even know if he’s alive or not!”
“My old parents are really lost after their little boy leaving us, and I am afraid that something will happen to them. They just want to know he is alive and well.”
“Perhaps, in terms of mental harassment of families, PJAK group is the leader among many splinter groups. Not only do they not allow the families of their members to communicate with them, but after several years from the time of their death, they tell the family about the death of their children, this is a violation of human rights. Families here are always afraid their child has died, and they will only find out years after, when there is no body or grave left to be found.”
It is very unfortunate that the human rights defender organizations and institutions remain silent about such human rights violations by PKK/PJAK and seem to be moving in the direction of normalizing the situation! Pressure should be applied on these groups, so that they would adhere to normal ethics. Members should have the right to resign from the group when they want to leave, and not held prisoner against their will. Members should also be allowed to contact their loved ones, which could well be regulated in a way that does not impact PJAK’s security. Death announcements should follow right after a member is killed in action, and families should not be left in the dark for years about the death of their child.