Iranian Girl, 16, Allegedly Killed by Police, Is New Face of Protests
The death of an Iranian teen, 16, who was participating in protests in the wake of the death of a Kurdish woman at the hands of the morality police, has further inflamed the protests and criticism on social media. Nika Shakarami, 16, of Tehran, disappeared on September 20 during the protests, where she posted an Instagram story showing her burning her hijab, and her body was discovered by her family more than a week later at a police detention center. She told a friend on the day of her disappearance that she was being followed by Iranian security agents.
The Iranian Tasnim news agency reported that there is “no evidence” of claims by “foreign media” that the teenager was killed by police. Meanwhile, Iranian officials on Wednesday arrested eight people in connection with the teen’s death, which Tasnim reported were workers in a building under construction where they say her body was found.
The family told BBC Persian that they had transferred her body on Sunday to her father’s hometown of Khorramabad in the west of the country and planned to hold a private burial ceremony after promising not to hold a funeral but that security forces “stole” the body and buried it in the village of Veysian, located some 40 km away, likely fearing mass demonstrations at the burial.
Meanwhile, the nearly three weeks of demonstrations have in recent days spread to the Islamic Republic’s universities. Reuters reported that Iranian security forces deployed at universities in several cities on Wednesday, including Urmia, Tabriz, Rasht, and Tehran, to put down the protests. At least 150 people have been killed and thousands arrested by Iranian security forces since the start of the protests.