Nahid Shirpisheh, slain protester Pouya Bakhtiari's mother

Mother of Slain Iranian Protester Physically Assaulted in Prison, Family Reports

Sunday, 06/30/2024

Mona Bakhtiari, whose brother Pouya Bakhtiari was killed during the 2019 protests, says her mother has been physically assaulted in prison.

"Today I came from visiting my mother, and realized that there was an attempt on my mother's life and someone beat her up," Bakhtiari said in a video posted on X on Wednesday.

She also expressed concern for her father's well-being, stating that Manouchehr Bakhtiari's life is in danger due to illness and the prison authorities' refusal to allow for a necessary surgery.

"We are ready to be killed because this life is much worse than death," she said.

Bakhtiari criticized the authorities, asking, "How can you justify playing with the lives of my mother and father?"

This incident is not the first time Nahid Shirpisheh has faced violence in prison.

In 2022, Bakhtiari reported that her mother was "beaten by either unauthorized or state-affiliated prisoners" with officials failing to intervene, just three weeks after entering the general ward of Zanjan prison.

In her video, she mentioned that agents from the Ministry of Intelligence visited her mother in March, promising a 10-day leave "on bail of several billion Tomans."

Instead, Bakhtiari says that the Ministry of Intelligence summoned her mother two months ago, demanding she confess on camera that her son Pouya was a "troublemaker who intended to shoot at officers."

During the 2019 nationwide protests in Iran, known as Bloody November, 27-year-old Pouya was shot in the head in the city of Karaj. Sparked by hike in fuel prices, the protests quickly evolved into demands for regime change and the removal of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Pouya's family attributed his death to security forces and demanded accountability for his death and the deaths of at least 1,500 at the hands of security forces.

Bakhtiari says the authorities recently revoked her mother's leave from prison because of social media posts by their relatives, Saba and Mehrdad Bakhtiari.

In the posts, Saba and Mehrdad Bakhtiari, Pouya Bakhtiari's uncle and aunt, revealed that their cousin, Behrouz Ghadimi, was the flight technician on the Iranian president's helicopter that crashed last month. The crash killed Ghadimi and all the officials on board, including President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian.

Following her son's death, Shirpisheh has faced severe pressure from security forces, including numerous summons and arrests.

During the widespread arrests of protesters' families in 2022, Shirpisheh was detained again, and although many others were gradually released, she was sentenced to five years in prison.

Pouya Bakhtiari's father was arrested in 2021 when security forces used excessive force during his apprehension at his residence in Tehran.

A Revolutionary Court subsequently sentenced him to three years and six months in prison, two years and six months in exile, and a two-year travel ban. Subsequently, further sentences were imposed on his existing term.

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