After a year of efforts by the family of Abolfazl Adinezadeh, a 16-year-old Iranian boy shot dead during nationwide protests last year, to seek justice, a military prosecutor closed the investigation into his death without coming to a conclusion.
In a statement, Gholamhassan Alvandi, the prosecutor at Branch 1 of the Khorasan Razavi Military Prosecutor's Office announced the closure of the case due to "insufficient concrete evidence to support the claim that military and law enforcement personnel used shotguns."
Khosro Alikordi, the lawyer representing Abolfazl's family, tells IranWire that, despite the presence of approximately 20 CCTVs around the site where Adinezadeh was killed and the questioning of the woman who transported the teenager to a hospital using footage from these surveillance cameras, not a single video has been included in the case file.
He insists that the announcement by the prosecutor handling the case will not deter the pursuit of justice for Abolfazl.
"We cannot predict the outcome, but I will formally submit our detailed protest to the military prosecutor’s office within the next two or three days to ensure that our concerns are addressed," the lawyer says.
Abolfazl Adinezadeh was outside Ferdowsi University in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where a protest gathering was taking place, when he was hit by over 70 pellets fired by security forces.
He lost his life shortly after being transported to Imam Reza Hospital, with his death certificate citing shotgun wounds to his kidney and liver as the cause for his demise.
His family has since faced harassment and multiple arrests by security agencies.
The Revolutionary and Public Prosecutor's Office in Mashhad has charged his sister and his father, Marzieh and Ali Adinezadeh, of "propaganda against the system." The two received a notice earlier this week requesting them to present their "final defense."
Despite the pressure, the Adinezadeh family said in a statement issued through their lawyer on November 6: "We are completely sure and aware that the killer of Abolfazl is Mashhad's special unit."
Khosrow Alikordi, their legal representative, tells IranWire he had requested access to footage of the vicinity of the crime scene.
"Unfortunately, none of these cameras were retrieved, and we do not possess any video evidence," the lawyer stated. "With so many cameras present, there isn't a single reel of film in the file. This is a troubling aspect of the case."
According to him, the female medical student who transported Abolfazl in a car to Imam Reza Hospital was questioned by security forces a few days after the incident.
"How did they locate this lady? They likely used security cameras because this lady arrived, helped Abolfazl, and then returned to her home…the driver has also been identified," Alikordi says.
Alikordi says the woman testified that the individuals who shot Abolfazl were “dressed in black clothing,” like riot unit members.
Alikordi has requested the names of the riot police personnel stationed around the scene of the killing. The special unit provided a list of 20 to 30 individuals, but statements were obtained from only four or five of them, he says.
These individuals stated they had not shot the pellets that struck Abolfazl and claimed they had fired in the air.
Also, the investigator has not ordered a comprehensive forensic investigation, Alikordi says.
The lawyer further says that a weapon expert has concluded that Abolfazl was killed by a type of pellet exclusively used by the anti-riot police.
He points out that the prosecutor of Branch 211 of the Mashhad Revolutionary and General Prosecutor's Office had stated that Abolfazl was shot and killed by anti-riot police forces.
This finding led to the transfer of the case to Branch 1 of the Khorasan Razavi Military Prosecutor's Office.
In its announcement, the prosecutor's office suggested the plaintiffs "pursue compensation from the National Treasury and through legal channels."
"The family, with unwavering confidence, asserts that their child was subjected to violence by the riot police, and they are not willing to accept any compensation from the National Treasury under any circumstances," Alikordi says.