The funeral service of imprisoned poet Baktash Abtin was held in Tehran a day ahead of schedule under pressure by security forces because authorities feared a large crowd and protest during the event.
Abtin died of Covid-19 complications following days of medically induced coma on Saturday after he was denied timely treatment by officials at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
The Iranian Writers' Association said in a statement that he was buried under the heavy presence of security forces on Sunday instead of Monday.
According to videos on social media, security measures turned out to be in vain as people showed up in the funeral Sunday afternoon and chanted slogans against the Islamic Republic and its leaders.
Saturday evening, security forces disrupted a candlelight vigil by mourners who had gathered in front of the hospital where he died.
His friends and colleagues charged that prison officials had delayed sending him to a hospital for ten days.
The poet and writer was sentenced to six years in prison in May 2019 for publishing documents about the history of the Writers’ Association and some comments against censorship. His death despite warnings that he should be released from prison has led to a wave of condemnations on social media.