Javad Heydari should have blown out the candles of his 40th birthday cake today – instead it is the 40th day since he was killed. Iranians mark 40 days after a person’s death as part of the traditional mourning process.
Heydari, from Elvand, a suburb of Qazvin, was killed when he was shot by security forces in the early days of the current nationwide protest sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from Saqqez, who had been detained by the morality police.
A source has now spoken with IranWire about what Javid Heydari’s family has experienced in recent days.
According to the reports obtained by IranWire, in addition to Heydari, at least three other citizens in Elvand, an industrial suburb, and one person in Takestan, have been killed during the protests of the last 40 days. The authorities have pressured the families to keep news of the deaths private – to avoid them sparking further protests.
Javad Heydari was the fifth child of a large family. He graduated from university with a degree in agricultural engineering and a major in animal science.
The family source told IranWire: "Javad was a hard worker. He received a certificate of appreciation as one of the top producers in the agricultural sector in Qazvin. He was also a member of Qazvin’s wrestling team and was a professional sportsman for many years.
If they had taken him to a hospital earlier,” the source said, referring to the fact that Heydari was not taken to hospital as soon as he was shot, “he would have survived."
The casualty list from the first week of the protests shows that most of them died between 20 and 22 September.
Speaking about the atmosphere in Qazvin on September 22, the family source said: "In Qazvin, like many other cities, citizens came to the streets to protest the unjustified killing of Mahsa Amini. Javad was one of the protesters. He was shot from behind in the Mellat Qazvin Park at close range by police officers."
Qazvin’s police headquarters is located in front of Mellat Park. Eyewitnesses said that one of the headquarter’s police officers shot Javad Heydari: "Javad's family has identified the identity of the assailant. According to the medical diagnosis, Javad was shot at close range, so close that the bullet entered his body from the back and exited from the front. There was a gaping wound on his body which was seen at the family's farewell visit."
According to the death certificate issued for Javad Heydari, a copy of which was obtained by IranWire, the cause of death was heavy bleeding through a rupture of the left temporal artery after being pierces by a high-speed metal projectile.
"We believe they [the authorities] deliberately neglected to transfer Javad to a medical center. Eyewitnesses saw that agents took him to the same headquarters building in front of Mellat Park to prevent people from helping Javad," the source told IranWire.
"Qazvin Shahid Rajaei Hospital is not more than five minutes away from the place where this happened. He was shot around 8pm, but he was transferred to Behesht Fateme morgue around 12am," the source added.
24 hours with no news
Heydari’s wife told his family that same night, also around midnight, that Javad had not returned home. "Javad's family looked for him in detention centers, police stations, hospitals, everywhere. This search continued until 7pm the next day, but no government organization informed the family about Javad's death,” the source said. Heydari's family finally learned about his death through an unofficial source.
"Someone called them and said, don't look for him among the living, they killed Javad and he is in the morgue,” the source added.
One of Javad Heydari's brothers and father went to the morgue to identify him at 8pm that evening.
"When they [security officials] identified Javad, they started sending messages. They sent a message to Mr. Heydari's father, saying 'Let's agree that Javad was killed in a car accident’, but Heydari's father refused."
Javad Heydari's sister meanwhile went to his grave and cut her hair in protest – evoking the symbol of protest used by many women across Iran as part of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement.
Intensified pressure on the family
The family was pressured to bury Heydari quietly. "Javad's family was supposed to receive him at 9am the next day. When Javad's brother arrived to receive the remains, he saw that it had been placed in an ambulance operated by the intelligence agency," the IranWire source said.
A large number of security officers were also present at the hospital and did not want to allow them a final visit. But Javad's father said to the agents: "I have eleven children. You have killed one. I will not hesitate to kill the others,” a Persian turn of phrase meant to suggest that he had no fear in confronting the authorities.
The Heydari family meanwhile refused to hold a quiet private burial. Thousands had gathered for Javid Heydari’s funeral amid heightened security measures. "It seemed that the large number of mourners surprised the security officers,” IranWire’s source said. “The agents distanced themselves and Javad's family was able to return the coffin to the morgue and to see him for the last time."
A number of teachers in Qazvin also participated in the funeral ceremony of Javad Heydari. A separate source who spoke to IranWire said: "Teachers present at the ceremony were summoned and some were arrested. They even arrested some of Javad's sister's friends to prevent them from attending the ceremony on the third day of Javad's death."
But the security forces' obstruction did not end there: "When it was clear that the ceremony could not be disrupted, the authorities barred the scheduled speakers from appearing. They also prevented supporters from filming the funeral. But despite all this, thousands of people showed up for the third-day ceremonies.”
Police officers were later sent to Heydari’s grave to tear down memorial banners on the eve of the 40th day after his death.
Videos sent to IranWire show that at least 12 cars carrying police officers and several cars of plainclothes officers were sent to the cemetery.
The Heydari family, meanwhile, like many families of people who have been killed in the protests, are under pressure from security institutions to give forced and false accounts on state television about their loved ones’ deaths.