Molavi Abdulhamid, Iran's most prominent Sunni cleric, has called for a transparent investigation into the recent death in custody of an 18-year-old ethnic Baluch student.
Sepehr Shirani was arrested by intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the southeastern city of Zahedan on January 28 over his online activities, sources said.
The teenager’s family was informed of his death three days later, but the cause remains unknown.
"Relevant agencies should explain how Sepehr Shirani lost his life," Molavi, the Sunni Friday Prayer leader of Zahedan, said in his sermon on February 2.
Lack of transparency regarding Shirani's death has sparked suspicion that he might have been succumbed to torture inflicted on him by his jailers, further fueling tensions in the restive province of Sistan and Baluchistan, of which Zahedan is the capital.
The province is home to Iran's Sunni Baluch minority of up to 2 million people.
Ethnic minorities in Iran face discrimination which curtails their access to education, employment and political office, and are also disproportionately affected by death sentences imposed for vague charges, according to Amnesty International.
Authorities also subject members of religious minorities such as Sunnis to discrimination in law and practice, arbitrary detention, unjust prosecutions, torture and other ill-treatment for professing or practising their faith.