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Politics

Body Of Iran Crackdown Victim Handed Over To Family After 20 Days

November 7, 2022
Shohreh Mehrnami
3 min read
18-year-old Esmail Heydari was on his way to work when he was shot dead by security forces
18-year-old Esmail Heydari was on his way to work when he was shot dead by security forces
Funeral notice for Esmail Heydari
Funeral notice for Esmail Heydari

Almost every day, IranWire receives reports about young people who have met their death in the hands of brutal security forces cracking down on nationwide protests.

On Sunday, November 6, an informed source said an 18-year-old man named of Esmail Heydari was killed about a month ago in Tonekabon, on the Caspian Sea, but his family was forced to declare their loved one died in a traffic accident.

According to this source, Heydari was originally from Meshgin Shahr in Ardebil province. He was on his way to the bakery where he worked when he was shot dead amid protests in the streets.

His brother, who was in Tonekabon when the tragedy occurred, told this source that Heydari was shot in the heart. The exit wound showed that an assault rifle was used, not a shotgun.

Azeri civil rights activist Duman Radmehr told IranWire that the body was handed over to Esmail’s family 20 days after his death.

The family did not claim the body right after Esmail’s death because they were threatened and intimidated by security agents, Radmehr said. “They had been threatened that if they tell the media about it, the body would not be handed over to them. And Esmail’s family had no idea where to go to get his body.”

According to the activist, Esmail’s father -- who understands Azeri language, but not Persian -- wanted to file a complaint at the Tonekabon prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s assistants typed a five-page document in Persian and told the father it was his complaint. The father, named Sardar Heydari, had to sign the document without knowing what was on it. Its content remains unknown.

A victim is identified

Meanwhile, a protester killed on November 3 in Karaja, near Tehran, has been identified as Mehran Shekari. Araz News quoted local sources as saying the victim was a native of Miandoab in the province of West Azerbaijan. A video clip showing his body in a van has been extensively shared on social media.

Shekari was shot dead by security forces during ceremonies marking the 40th day since the death of Hadis Najafi and Nima Rezadoost, who were also killed by security forces. Two days after Shekari’s death, locals laid flowers on the spot where he had fallen.

According to Araz News, Shekari’s parents have to pay security agencies 200 million tomans before they hand over his body. Mehran’s grandfather was a martyr of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

New narrative around killing of 22-year-old woman

Security and judiciary officials continue their efforts to make up various narratives to justify or explain the killing of protesters.

The authorities have put strong pressure on the family of 22-year-old Nasim Sedghi, who was killed during an anti-government protest in West Azerbaijan, to force them to say she had died in a car accident.

Last week, the Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) reported that Sedghi’s father has been put under pressure by the Intelligence Bureau of Shahin Dej, where the family lives, to explain on TV that his daughter was killed by her boyfriend who then escaped to Turkey.

Nasim’s family say that security agents have stolen her mobile phone and gold earrings.

An informed source told IranWire that many Shahin Dej residents are enraged over Sedghi’s death, and security forces are on standby in the city. People who posted a message on Instagram reading “Bless you Shahin Dez” have been arrested. Civil right activist Babak Ghabelnejad is among those arrested. 

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