Mohsen Qeysari, a 32-year-old ethnic Kurd, returned to the western Iranian city of Ilam from Germany early last year to support his elderly parents and ensure they were not alone in their twilight years.
Qeysari was killed seven months later, on September 21, 2022, when he was hit by dozens of pellets shot by riot police while helping a girl during a protest.
He became the first casualty in Ilam of the widespread protests sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
“He Consistently Stood Up for the Oppressed"
The young man pursued a degree in computer science at the local university and worked alongside his father at a hardware shop.
A reliable source who spoke with IranWire but wishes to remain anonymous due to security concerns said that Qeysari had a deep passion for cycling and bodybuilding.
He also loved traveling and relished being amidst nature.
Pictures and videos of this young man, seen by IranWire, show his deep commitment to bodybuilding and mountain biking.
Another person who spoke to IranWire emphasized that Qeysari was dedicated to social justice and fighting against oppression.
"He led a healthy lifestyle and showed consideration for everyone. He was vigilant about causing no harm and consistently stood up for the oppressed," this source said.
Like many other young people in Iran, Qeysari contemplated emigration due to challenging economic circumstances and the constraints imposed by political and social factors.
After spending approximately a year in Germany, he chose to return to his hometown to be with his parents, Khadijeh and Nazar.
Other children in the family were living far away from their parents, who relied on Mohsen as their main support in their old age.
"Mohsen was the youngest child in the family, and he was the only one living with us," an IranWire source said.
Upon returning to Iran, Qeysari was arranged to marry the girl he deeply cared for.
"He was in the midst of building their home and they planned to wed during Nowruz [New Persian Year]. His parents held so much hope for him. They endured immense pain," a source said.
“More than 50 Pellets Lodged near his Heart”
Amini’s death in September 2022 sparked months-long anti-establishment protests across Iran that were accompanied by a brutal state crackdown that left more than 500 people killed.
An informed individual told IranWire that Qeysari was with friends when he was shot by security forces: "Eyewitnesses who were with him at the scene stated that he was assisting a young girl who had been overwhelmed by tear gas."
"It was on Wednesday, September 21, and the entire area was teeming with people. In the city of Ilam, the Kids Park was also a focal point for the gathering," the source said. "Mohsen happened to be there when tear gas was unleashed, and he rushed to help a distressed girl. At that moment he was struck in the chest by a shotgun blast…more than 50 pellets lodged near his heart.”
In the photographs depicting the lifeless body of the young man, multiple pellet wounds can be seen on his chest.
Despite suffering from severe bleeding, Qeysari could not be transported to hospital.
"People eventually managed to convey him to the hospital but, sadly, he succumbed on the way. The security forces prevented the ambulance from entering the area; otherwise, he might have had a chance to survive," the source said.
Following Qeysari's demise, the security forces did not hand over his body to the family promptly. Like dozens of other young individuals who lost their lives during last year’s protests, Mohsen's body was kept by government agents for two days to make sure that the burial would not attract attention.
"His family faced significant harassment. The authorities targeted his parents, who had placed all their hopes in Mohsen, pressuring them to state that Mohsen had been martyred by 'the hypocrites,'" the source explained.
"They demanded they [parents] acknowledge him as a martyr of the government, but the family refused. Instead, they aspire to seek justice through legal means and bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to account, and they reject any offers made to them," the source added.