Billing the Victim’s Family

Still happening today


“In some cases families have been told that they need to pay for the bullets used to kill their loved one.”

It seems a cruelty relegated to the distant past of human history for a state, upon killing one of its citizens, to further decimate the family of the victim by sending a bill for the killing. When I was designing the Returning the Nails sculpture I’d heard of China sending bills for execution of protesters after the Tiananmen Sq. Massacre to the families of their victims, I thought it must be an urban legend. Surely a modern state could not be so cruel!

But it still happens today. In the recent protests in Iran, apparently once again the state is not content with murdering its citizens. It feels it must further crush the families by charging for the cost of the bullets used. 

At least now such travesties can no longer be held secret.

Tim Holmes             Dec. 2, 2019