On British-Iranian’s murder and UK police’s negligence

IRNA – Murdered British-Iranian Bijan Ebrahimi’s family claiming his denied rights is of cardinal importance and can be fruitful for others and a serious step in fighting racial violence, wrote Iranian Ambassador to London.

‘The story began some years ago. In 2001, Iranian youth Bijan Ebrahimi immigrated to England, searching for a better life and eventually settled in Bristol, Avon and Somerset, western England, in an area in which mostly European whites reside,’ Hamid Baeidinejad wrote on his Instagram page.

‘Despite his hard life due to physical disability, Bijan was a calm harmless person, but had to deal with a pathological racist neighbor who apparently enjoyed annoying him. He and his friend frequently attacked Bijan with no good reason. Bijan patiently took their insults and threats; between 2005 and 2013, he referred to his only sanctuary the police and city council 44 times for being a subject to assault and battery, being threatened to death, and his cat, Mooshi, being beaten. He hoped the police would stop the attacker; however, not only was he ignored every single time, but he was also taken into custody based on false rumors.’

Baeidinejad wrote, ‘Unfortunately, his cries [for help] were not heeded; unbelievably, in a bitter day (July 14, 2013, his nefarious neighbor, attacked him, beat him to death, dragged him from his house on to grass, doused him with alcohol and set him alight.’

The news was a tremendous shock to British community; the neighbor was sentenced to life imprisonment, which was not consoling to his two sisters. They rightfully demanded that the police’s indifference, which helped the crime, be dealt with; therefore, they brought a complaint against the police, wrote Iran’s ambassador in London.

Baeidinejad wrote, ‘Although dealing with the complaint took far too long time, the four police officers responsible were fired, two of whom were sentenced to jail, as well.’

Yet, Bijan’s sisters’ unbearable suffering did not relieve, and they wanted the police to be put to trial for institutional racism, meaning the police have not taken the necessary measures due to racial, ethnic, and cultural bigotry and so they have helped the crime. After a year and a half, the mayor of Bristol said, ‘We apologize for failing to adequately support Bijan as a victim.’

The Safer Bristol Partnership has issued a report and announced that it has found a ‘collective failure’ by both Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol City Council.

He added, ‘We accept all of the findings of the Safer Bristol-commissioned independent review, including ‘evidence of both discriminatory behavior and institutional racism on the part of Bristol City Council.’

He promised to make changes in the police force so that such incidents will not happen to other immigrants.

A police spokesman said, ‘We recognize and fully accept the findings.’

‘We’d like to reiterate our sincere apologies to Mr Ebrahimi’s family who’ve shown great courage throughout. We failed him when he needed us the most and for that we’re extremely sorry.’

Baeidinejad concluded that the announcement won’t help Bijan or lessen his sisters’ pains, but, at least, it shows that attempting to establish justice and claiming rights, even if not fruitful for oneself, can be effectual for others. Everyone has the duty to counter hate crimes until the societies, especially the supervising bodies, become free of hate crimes.