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Politics

Dead Teenage Protester Nika Didn’t Commit Suicide, Lawyer Says

October 26, 2022
Akhtar Safi
2 min read
Nika Shakarami was found dead last month after disappearing during an antigovernment protest in Tehran.
Nika Shakarami was found dead last month after disappearing during an antigovernment protest in Tehran.

The lawyer of Nika Shakarami’s family has again rejected allegations that the teenager who was found dead after disappearing during a protest rally last month had committed suicide.

Nika, 16, disappeared on September 20 during an antigovernment protest in Tehran. Her family found her body in a morgue outside the capital after spending days looking for her in prisons, detention centers, police stations and hospitals.

Nika’s aunt and uncle were later arrested and appeared on state television saying Nika had been “thrown” from a multi-story building located close to her home.

Officials told state media there were no bullet marks on Nika’s body and that her death was not linked to protests. Official media suggested she had thrown herself from the rooftop and her bag was found on the roof.

But Reza Bagheri, the lawyer of the Shakrami family, reiterated on Wednesday that the cause of Nika's death was not suicide.

In an interview published in Shargh newspaper, Bagheri also rejected the authenticity of an alleged picture of the teenager that was published on the Instagram account of a top official.

Mohammad Shahriari, the head of criminal prosecution of Tehran province, shared the photo last week, claiming that it was extracted from Nika’s phone. The photo, which showed a girl lying on the rooftop of a building, was apparently intended to back the official account of Nika’s death.

"We completely reject this photo that has been published and attributed to Nika. What Mr. Shahriari did was against the law," the lawyer said.

Nasrin Shakarami, the mother of the teenager, has denounced a state television report in which her family was forced to reject claims that Nika was killed by security forces.

Nika's mother and uncle said her skull and nose were broken when they received the body for burial. The body was stitched from the chest to the stomach due to the autopsy, security officers told them.

Nika became an icon for the ongoing anti-government protests that have rocked Iran since the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Protesters have shared video of the teenager laughing and singing a song just days before her disappearance.

Amini died on in the custody of the morality police after she was arrested for allegedly wearing the hijab incorrectly.

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