Aida Shakarami and her sister Nika Shakarmi

Slain Iranian Protest Icon’s Sister Arrested Over Hijab Defiance

Thursday, 04/18/2024

Aida Shakarami, the older sister of the slain 16-year-old Iranian protester Nika Shakarmi, was arrested in Tehran yesterday by the Islamic Republic's guidance patrol for not wearing the hijab.

"Yesterday, my daughter Aida was arrested by Tehran's moral security police for not wearing the mandatory hijab and is still in custody," the siblings’ mother Nasrin Shakarami wrote in an Instagram post.

Iranian authorities have recently escalated their violent crackdown on women for defying the country’s mandatory Islamic hijab laws, with reports of mass arrests across the country.

Some human rights activists argue that the regime is using the crisis and ‘state of war’ with Israel to suppress dissent – and that the country’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, enacted controversial measures during this time to avoid public backlash.

Nika was kidnapped and murdered by state security forces during unprecedented nationwide protests in Iran in September 2022, following the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini in custody of the so-called “morality police” in Tehran.

Just four days after Amini was killed, videos showed Nika setting fire to her hijab at a protest in Tehran. When Nika suddenly went missing, authorities refused to give the family any answers. After 10 days, authorities informed the family that Nika’s body had been found.

The authorities claimed that Nika had committed suicide. The teenager’s family has repeatedly denied these claims and stated that she was killed as a result of repeated blows to her head.

Subsequent reports indicated that Nika was raped by state security forces before they killed her. Since her murder, the Shakarami family has persistently been targeted with threats from authorities, and several members of the family were detained.

Last October, Aida Shakarami revealed that unidentified individuals had threatened her family while they visited Nika’s grave – telling them that Nasrin, the siblings’ mother, would face arrest.

Nika’s story and death at the hands of the regime turned her into one of the beloved icons of the movement for many Iranians.

Last year, Amnesty International reported that Iranian authorities are “waging a ruthless campaign of harassment and intimidation against the families of protesters and bystanders unlawfully killed by security forces during the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising to force them into staying silent…”.

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