Amid ongoing protests, many Iranians are mourning dozens of teens and young people, as names and details of the brutality against them emerge on social media.
Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based rights organization, said Tuesday that at least 154 protesters, including nine children have been killed by security forces during the recent protests. Very little is known about most of the victims as families are pressured to stay silent if they want the bodies of their loved ones to be handed over to them.
On Monday security forces stole the body of a teen victim, Nika Shakarami, from the morgue while her family were waiting at a cemetery in her late father’s hometown of Khorramabad for the body to arrive. They buried the young girl in a village about forty kilometers away, supposedly to prevent her funeral from turning into protests.
Thousands have shared photos and a video showing the 16-year-old Nika, shyly but playfully singing a song into a microphone. Nika was studying art in college and training to become a barista.
Nika was last heard from when she called a friend from the protests on September 20 saying she was being chased by security forces during a protest in Tehran against the killing of Mahsa Amini -- a 22-year-old girl killed in police custody earlier that week.
Nika’s body was found in a morgue at Kahrizak detention center ten days later. Authorities said she died “falling from a height” but refused to allow her mother and relatives see anything other than her face in the morgue. Her aunt said later that her nose and skull were smashed, apparently by multiple blows to her head.
Authorities later arrested Nika’s aunt and uncle after they publicized her death. Sources close to the family say the security forces are pressuring the family to say Nika had not been in the protests to reduce her killing to an unrelated murder case.
The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)-linked Tasnim news agency published a report of the alleged murder of the young girl Tuesday blaming it on people outside the protests.
Tasnim claimed that Nika went to a commercial building kilometers away from the protests where her body was found, although her body was found at a detention center, and suggested that she may have been killed by workers who were resting in the building’s parking.
Eight of the workers have been arrested, Tasnim said, and the case has been referred to a prosecutor for investigation. Many expect the state broadcaster to show someone making a forced confess admitting to the young girl’s murder or blame it on people from among the protesters.
A video has been circulating on social media of the mother of 18-year-old Parsa Rezapour, sitting and wailing on a sidewalk in Karaj where her son was shot dead. “My child was killed for the sake of freedom … My child was martyred,” she cries.
In a video posted on social media the mother of 23-year-old Hadis Najafi, also shot dead in Karaj, has come forward saying she was shot in the heart, abdomen, and neck. “Her whole body and face showed shotgun wounds,” she says adding authorities hid her death from them and refused to hand her body over to them. Before leaving for the protest she posted a video of herself saying she was taking part because she wanted to remember these day years later “when everything will be different”.