Mateen Naderkhani was a 20-year-old man who had two deep passions: football and music.
This guitar player and member of Gilan province’s Damash FC team was apprehended by security forces during the nationwide protests last September in Tehran.
Subsequently, he endured two months of interrogation in a security detention center.
Following his release, which was contingent upon a pledge not to participate in further protests, he continued his activism against the Islamic Republic.
A source close to the Naderkhani family told IranWire that the young man stood alongside the families of victims of the brutal crackdown on the nationwide protests that swept Iran last year and attended memorial services for those who lost their lives.
“Two Gunshot Wounds to the Head”
On May 16, Naderkhani was at home when he received a phone call from a friend who had an argument with his parents, the source said. At around noon, Naderkhani went out with his friend with his guitar in tow.
Naderkhani returned home at around 6 p.m., changed his attire, grabbed his guitar, and informed his family he would be visiting a friend's house.
At around 11:30 p.m., his mother began to worry and asked her younger daughter to call him. Naderkhani said he would soon be back home.
One hour later, as there was still no word from Naderkhani, his anxious mother called him again, but his phone remained unanswered. The family also tried to contact his friends, without success.
By 3 a.m. the family received a call from police who announced he had been arrested along with a friend. The parents were instructed to visit the Arg Square police station in the morning.
At the police station, the officers did not provide them any information about their son and told them to come back during office hours.
When they did, the mother and father were directed to a morgue to identify their son's body.
According to the death certificate, Naderkhani had "cerebral hemorrhage and crushing of brain tissue" caused by "two gunshot wounds to the head."
The Shadow of Threats Looming Over the Family for Disclosure
Ahead of the first anniversary of the nationwide demonstrations, security forces arrested a number of relatives of victims of the clampdown on the protests.
Some have been threatened to remain silent about their loved ones.
Over the past year, Naderkhani's family has faced various levels of threats.
"Some time ago, Mateen's father was summoned to the Arg Square police, and upon his arrival he was coerced into making a commitment. He was pressured to pledge that no ceremonies, memorials or commemorations would take place in Mateen's name," the source said. "He was instructed to inform anyone inquiring about Mateen's death that it was an accident, despite the fact that he had succumbed to two close-range gunshot wounds."
The young man was killed just a few days after turning 20.
A guitar has been etched on his grave, accompanied by the lyrics of a song by Shadmehr Aghili.