Anti-Hijab Protests: Iran Teen Chef's Death Puts a Spotlight on Young Victims
Security forces have struggled to contain protests by Iran’s youth, as they lead the anti-hijab protest in Iran.
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Iran's teenage celebrity chef Mehrshad Shahidi, better known as Iran’s jamie Oliver, was allegedly beaten to death by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a day before his 20th birthday amid the ongoing anti-hijab protests in the country.
Shahidi’s “ruthless” killing triggered nationwide grief as thousands reportedly took to the streets for continued demonstrations and the chef’s funeral.
According to The Telegraph, the 19-year-old was arrested during a protest and beaten to death with batons by the IRGC in Arak City. While Shahidi’s family said that they were pressured to attribute the death to a heart attack, the report added that he died after receiving blows to the skull.
Iranian authorities have denied responsibility for the death. Moreover, 7News reported that Iranian Chief Justice Abdolmehdi Mousavi went to the extent of saying that there were “no signs” of any fractures on his arms, legs, skull or of any brain injury,
Iran has been ravaged by six weeks of protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, while in custody for an alleged breach of the country’s restrictive clothing norms for women.
Iranian security forces have struggled to contain the women-led demonstrations, with massive participation from Iran’s youth, which has now evolved into a wider movement to establish democracy and end the Islamic republic founded in 1979.
Young People Lead the Way
The Iranian youth have remained at the forefront of the protests, and have refused to deescalate demonstrations even after several provocations from security forces.
Turning up in huge numbers at marches, protests, the students and youths have driven the protest to a point where it may have gotten too much for the IRGC.
However, these youths are the main target of retaliatory killings, assault, illegal detention and torture, both physical and mental, while in custody.
On Sunday, Iran military-security forces killed a 16-year-old named Komar Dar-Oftadeh during public protests in the western region of Piranshahr. His body was transferred to the city’s Khomeini Hospital.
Kianoosh Abdullahzadeh, a 22-year-old man from Saqqez, was kidnapped on Sunday evening, after security forces attacked of his home. His whereabouts remain unknown.
During the funeral of Motalleb Saeid Peyro, a young man who will killed a day before in Baneh, the IRGC killed 20-year-old Dastan Rasoul for attending the ceremony. Two others were injured.
High school student Sadegh Zendehboudi was arrested by the IRGC in Bushehr and there have been grave concerns raised around the possible use of torture during the interrogation, several human rights NGOs said.
22-year-old Moin Ahmadi from Baneh was illegally picked up by IRGC intelligence forces on Thursday. His whereabouts too remain unknown.
An 11-year-old child was picked up by government agents from a park in Piranshahr, West Iran and was severely tortured, the Hengaw Human Rights Organization claimed.
School students have also protested on an unprecedented scale and their demonstrations have been hard to contain. In several videos on social media, protests have heavily been undertaken by school children.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, on 18 October, said that as many as 23 children have been killed and many others injured in at least seven provinces by live ammunition, metal pellets at close range, and fatal beatings."
Multiple schools have also been raided and children arrested by security forces. The Minister of education also confirmed that an unspecified number of kids have been sent to “psychological centers” subsequent to their arrest for participating in anti-state protests.
“The Islamic Republic has an obligation to protect children’s right to life under any circumstances…” the OHCHR said.
Videos circulated on Twitter showed students protesting at Tehran Azad University, Beheshti University, Khaje Nasir Toosi University of Technology, and Shahid Chamran University, among others.
"Students will die, but won't tolerate indignity!" was one of the slogans being raised, as per the footage.
40 Days of Protests Birth Many More Mahsa Aminis
As in Mahsa Amini's case, several women protesters have died under dubious circumstances that point to foul play by the authorities.
Four days after Amini's death, 16-year-old Nika Shakarami went missing in Tehran on 20 September after telling a friend that she was being chased by police. The state TV later broadcast her relatives claiming that Nika was killed by a fall from a building.
However, BBC Persian, citing a source, reported that "forced confessions" were made in the face of threats to the rest of the family.
Hadis Najafi, 22, was shot dead by security forces while protesting in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, on 21 September, as per her family. Officials allegedly asked her father to say that she died of a heart attack.
Human Rights organisation Amnesty International reported the death of another 16-year-old girl, Sarina Esmailzadeh, during the protests in Gohardasht on 23 September. The teenager died after security forces struck her head with batons.
A source told Amnesty International that security and intelligence agents have subjected the girl's family to intense harassment to coerce them into silence.
As per the findings of Iran Human Rights, returning bodies is made contingent on families promising to stay silent or confirming the false causes of death cited by the Forensic Medical Organisation on the death certificates.
Family members have been subjected to coercion to pipe the false narratives woven by security forces. The scenarios have included "falling from a height, car accident or poisoning by drugs, alcohol or food."
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Topics: Iran revolutionary guards Mahsa Amini
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