Iranian security forces have reportedly used violence against protesters who had gathered at a cemetery in the western province of Lorestan where Nika Shakarami’s family planned to hold a ceremony to mark the 40th day since the death of the teenage girl.
An angry crowd gathered at the cemetery in the village of Veisian on Thursday, October 27, despite tight security measures, chanting slogans against the Iranian regime, according to video clips distributed on social media.
A source close to Shakrami's family was quoted as saying security forces opened fire and used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
Nika, 16, disappeared on September 20 during an anti-government 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.
There are growing suspicions that she was killed by security forces amid a brutal crackdown on an ongoing wave of nationwide protest rallies triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month.
Officials have 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 of a multi-story building.
The lawyer of the Shakrami family has ruled out suicide as the cause of Nika's death.
And U.S. broadcaster CNN on October 27 released an investigation which it said provided proof that Shakarami was arrested by security forces during the Tehran protest.
It showed footage of a girl, identified by CNN as Shakarami, leading a crowd of protesters in throwing stones, and then hiding from the police between passing cars.
CNN quoted the eyewitness who provided the video as saying they saw the teenager arrested by "several big security officers."
Nika became an icon for the protesters who have taken to the streets across Iran since Amini died on September 16 while in custody of the morality police. She had been arrested for allegedly wearing the hijab incorrectly.
At least 234 people, including 29 children, have been killed so far in the crackdown on the nationwide protests, according to one human rights organization. Several thousand people have been arrested.