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Omid MoradiImage source, Omid Moradi

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Omid Moradi says he was dismissed from nan constabulary aft refusing to travel orders to onslaught protesters

Omid Moradi was a personnel of nan Special Task Forces portion of nan Iranian police, tasked pinch supressing protests. But, conflicted by what he saw, Omid switched sides and joined anti-government protesters. He later defected and fled abroad. Here he tells BBC Persian's Jiyar Gol why he turned.

I meet Omid Moradi adjacent Frankfurt successful Germany. Tall and well-built, Omid says he joined nan riot constabulary 8 years ago, erstwhile he was 21.

After he vanished his basal training, astatine Isfahan's Beheshti constabulary academy, he was selected for typical service.

"I was chosen to train for nan Special Task Forces because I was fit," he says. "We had religious, subject lessons, and really to usage sadistic unit against opponents and target them connected delicate parts of nan body".

The Iranian constabulary forces comprise respective different branches and are thought to person hundreds of thousands of officers.

In caller years, Iran has witnessed respective outbreaks of unrest - complete nan costs of surviving and quality authorities - each of which person been brutally supressed. Countless instances of information forces utilizing excessive unit person been documented by quality authorities organisations.

After completing his training, Omid was deployed to Tehran. His first assignment, successful 2016, was to break up a protestation by pensioners angry complete a emergence successful inflation.

"We were successful a group of 20 motorcycles, each carrying 2 equipped constabulary officers," he recalls. "Our occupation was to scare group and disperse them."

However, Omid says that he often resisted carrying retired his commanders' orders to onslaught protesters. His defiance led to respective reprimands, and eventually, 4 years ago, he was dismissed from nan force.

Omid says galore of his erstwhile colleagues felt nan aforesaid way.

"Many members of nan Iranian constabulary forces grapple pinch civilized and ethical dilemma. They are tired of being utilized arsenic an instrumentality of oppression to prolong nan regime."

In Iran, it is unheard of for immoderate personnel of nan constabulary aliases militias loyal to nan ultimate leader to beryllium charged pinch utilizing excessive usage of unit against protesters aliases pinch torturing aliases sidesplitting opponents of nan regime.

"When nan constabulary main endorses nan sadistic actions of his officers, it efficaciously grants them licence to origin harm aliases moreover termination pinch impunity," Omid says.

Image source, Reuters

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Security forces thrust done Tehran past October, astatine nan tallness of nan protests sparked by Mahsa Amini's death

Omid near nan constabulary agelong earlier nan latest protests swept nan state pursuing nan decease successful constabulary custody past September of a Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa "Zhina" Amini.

Amini had been arrested for wearing her hijab, aliases headscarf, "improperly". Her family and supporters opportunity she was beaten to death, refuting charismatic claims that she died arsenic a consequence of underlying wellness issues.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights group says astatine slightest 551 protesters - including 68 women and 49 children - person been killed successful nan government's crackdown.

But mean members of nan information forces person their ain grievances, Omid says. Crippling economical sanctions complete Iran's atomic programme person near nan authorities struggling to salary civilian servants, including nan police.

There is also, he says, wide corruption wrong nan Iranian information forces, from apical to bottom.

"We had constabulary officers for illustration maine who struggled to make ends meet, and successful nan aforesaid unit pinch nan aforesaid work we had officers who had fancy cars and homes successful posh neighbourhoods of Tehran.

"How could they spend it? They would apprehension supplier dealers and thieves a mates of times, past fto them free and show them they tin run successful nan area arsenic agelong arsenic they springiness a committee of betwixt 20% and 50% to nan officers."

Omid says he besides saw hostility betwixt police, Basij (volunteer militia of authorities loyalists), and nan elite Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC). He says astir constabulary officers, different than riot police, are trained and thin to obey nan laws compared to different information forces.

"The IRGC and Basij were ruthless, often firing indiscriminately. We tried to extremity them connected galore occasions, but our superiors ever backed them up."

Last year, during nan wide protests, Omid switched sides and joined demonstrators successful Tehran. He says that while he was trying to thief a female flight arrest, he himself was arrested. While he was successful custody, he says, he was tortured some physically and psychologically.

"The constabulary went truthful acold arsenic to interaction my mother, falsely telling her that I was connected nan brink of execution. They recorded my mum's anguished cries and played them backmost to maine successful my situation cell. At that infinitesimal nan world seemed to illness complete my head."

Omid says his father, besides a erstwhile constabulary officer, paid hefty bribes to erstwhile colleagues to get him released.

Fearing re-arrest, Omid escaped Iran and utilizing smuggling routes managed to get to Germany. He is now applying for asylum.