Death of 16-year-old protester Nika Shakarami fuels anger in Iran

Death of 16-year-old protester Nika Shakarami fuels anger in Iran
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The death of a 16-year-old girl during ongoing anti-government protests in Iran – and the authorities’ blatant attempts to cover it up – has prompted another call for demonstrators to rally.

Nika Shakarami disappeared in Tehran in September. Family of 20, after she burned her headscarf in protest and was followed by security forces BBC told in Persian, referring to the account of a friend who was with him at the time. The family later alleges that the government refused to reveal his whereabouts, stole his body for a secret burial, and pressured his relatives to make false statements about how he died.

Her story is eerily similar to that of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died on September 22. 16 His detention under the surveillance of Iran’s “morality police” provided the first spark of the biggest demonstrations Iran has seen in several years. Authorities said Amini suffered a heart attack after she was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code and released the edited footage as evidence. His family, however, believe he was abused, and at his funeral, mourners shouted “death to the dictator”, a taboo reference to Iran’s supreme leader, before being attacked by police.

The protests currently sweeping the country are a formidable challenge to Iran’s clerics, reflecting decades of pent-up anger against poverty, oppression, gender discrimination and human rights abuses. Iranian leaders blamed the West for the popular uprising and launched a violent crackdown that cut off internet access and killed at least 80 people, according to human rights groups. Authorities also threatened the families of those arrested and killed in order to intimidate them to silence them.

Despite the danger, Shakarami’s aunt, Atash Shakarami, shared the news of the youth’s disappearance on social media. Soon her story began to circulate on the Internet and gain attention in Iran. A video of Shakarami Dressed in black baggy pants and a black T-shirt, she had her jet black hair cut short, singing a Persian love song that went viral.

Iranian authorities did not publicly comment on the case for days, but the family said they were privately pressured to remain silent.

Shakarami’s aunt told BBC Persian that the teenager left home in September. 20 with a water bottle in her purse, supposedly to visit her sister. The family later realized that he was going to protest and drank water, presumably to wash the pepper spray from his eyes.

They lost contact with him around 19:00 September. 20, said the aunt, and her Instagram and Telegram accounts were deleted that night. Security forces often demand that detainees allow them access to their social media accounts.

The family reported her missing and searched for her in hospitals and police stations. But they heard nothing until they found his body in a morgue 10 days later.

“When we went to identify him, they didn’t let us see his body, they just let us see his face for a few seconds,” said Atash Shakarami. BBC told in Persian.

As a condition for his release, the authorities demanded that the family bury him privately, a common tactic to prevent the funeral from turning into protest, as in Amini’s case.

The family brought his funeral to Shakarami’s father’s hometown in western Iran on Sunday, but they had no chance to hold a funeral. That same day, authorities retrieved Shakarami’s body and buried him in a village about 25 miles away. They also arrested his aunt, Atash Shakarami.

Realizing that they could no longer ignore his case, Iranian authorities finally commented on Shakarami’s death on Tuesday, claiming that his body was found in September. He died at the age of 21 after falling in the backyard of a building. Authorities also said they had arrested eight workers who allegedly were in the building when he died. According to Tasnim News. The news agency is close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a key part of the police force Basij’s crackdown on protesters. Fars News, which is also affiliated with IRGC, Video footage released on Wednesday He said it showed Shakarami entering the building, although the person’s identity could not be determined.

state television also Wednesday images were released Shakarami’s aunt reportedly confirmed the government narrative by saying that the teenagers had fallen from the roof of the building. His uncle also appeared and criticized the protests. But as he spoke, a shadow appeared and it was as if someone was saying in Persian, “Say, you scumbag!” she whispered.

The Iranian government has long been making use of forced confessions, according to human rights groups, and Shakarami’s mother said on Thursday. Radio FardaIt was also digested as the Iranian branch of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

“They killed my daughter and now they’re threatening to force me to confess,” he said.

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