Iranian security agents have abducted the body of well-known journalist Reza Haghighatnejad, preventing his planned funeral in the southern city of Shiraz following his death in Germany.
Haghighatnejad, a former editor at IranWire, died in Berlin on October 17 at the age of 45. His body was repatriated to Iran for burial on October 25.
"I have not seen my son in six years," his mother said in a video clip obtained by IranWire.
"They let me bring his body to Iran, but Sepah (the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) or police abducted his body at the airport."
RFE/RL, where he worked from 2019 until his death, quoted relatives and friends as saying the necessary permits have been issued to bury the body in Haghighatnejad’s hometown of Shiraz. But the family is now being pressured by the security and intelligence agencies to agree to his body being buried in another cemetery located outside of the city.
RFE/RL President and CEO Jamie Fly said the Iranian regime’s manipulation of Haghighatnejad’s family was "disgraceful and disgusting," and that they deserve to be allowed to bury him without harassment.
He said Haghighatnejad was a "brilliant journalist" who was "passionate about freedom and justice for his fellow Iranians, and a champion of the voiceless until the end."
Former Iranian international footballer Ali Karimi took to Instagram to urged Iran’s authorities to “hand Haghighatnejad's body to his family."
Officials have accused the Dubai-based Karimi, a former player with Bayern Munich and once the captain of Iran’s national soccer team, of being one of the "main leaders” of the unrest that has rocked Iran for weeks.
His property has been confiscated and his statue torn down in his hometown of Karaj.
The authorities have cracked down hard on the protest movement triggered by the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Aminia while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.
At least 234 people have been killed in the crackdown, including 29 children, according to one human rights organization. Several thousand people have been arrested.