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Politics

Iranian Teen Commits Suicide After Being Tortured In Prison And Released

November 29, 2022
Shohreh Mehrnami
3 min read
Arshia Iman Gholizadeh Alamdari, a 16-year-old Iranian teenager, took his own life earlier this month, a few days after he was released from detention
Arshia Iman Gholizadeh Alamdari, a 16-year-old Iranian teenager, took his own life earlier this month, a few days after he was released from detention

Arshia Iman Gholizadeh Alamdari, a 16-year-old Iranian teenager, took his own life earlier this month, a few days after he was released from detention.

Security forces arrested him after he knocked the turban off a cleric’s head in a street of Hadishahr, in the western province of Eastern Azerbaijan, a new tactic employed by Iranians to show dissatisfaction with the country’s clerical rulers.

Arshia spent 10 days in a detention center before being released on bail. He committed suicide on November 27.

A family member told IranWire that Arshia was originally from Hadishahr, but he lived with his father in the city of Rasht. Both had travelled to Hadishahr where Arshia knocked off the cleric's turban.

Security forces identified the car the teenager was traveling in, and appeared at the grandfather's workplace to arrest him. The family initially resisted the arrest, but the agents threatened them and Arshia's father finally agreed to hand him over to the police.

Arshia was kept in Hadishahr for one day before being transferred to a detention center for juveniles in the provincial capital, Tabriz.

Ten days later, his father managed to bail him out and the pair went back to Rasht. Following his release, the teenager was talking about death to his mother and that he cannot stay in this world, according to his relative. 

Concerned about his mental health, the family took him to a psychologist. The doctor said Arshai was depressed and he prescribed him medication.

Arshia had told his friends that guards were giving pills to the inmates every night and were beating them with batons.

He started taking his medication one week after he was released from prison, and just two days later, he mixed the medication prescribed by the doctor with other pills to take his own life.

After that, the officers stormed the house of Arshia’s father and took the cell phones. After receiving his body, the family decided to hold a funeral and mourning ceremony in Hadishahr.

In the meantime, security officials visited the house of Arshia's grandfather many times and warned that the family should not talk about Arshia's death to the media.

The relative quoted officials as telling the family: "If you speak out, something bad will happen to you." Scores of riot forces were in Hadishahr on November 27 when Arshia was laid to rest. 

Arshia's suicide raised questions on social media about how the Islamic Republic treats imprisoned teenagers.

"For throwing a turban, which is not a crime, they arrest a child who is not a criminal," Saeed Dehghan, a lawyer, tweeted. "As Arshia and other [teenagers] like him took their life after their release, we should know that the agents keep torturing [them]".

Citing the case of Yalda Aghafazli, a 19-year-old teenager who took her life days after being released from custody, the Iran Human Rights Center asked: "What are you doing with these teenagers in prison?"

Aghafazli was arrested on October 26 on Tehran’s Enghelab Square and released 10 days later, without being informed of the charges against her.

Aghafazli had been on hunger strike prior to her November 6 release from Qarchak Prison. She committed suicide on November 10, with police claiming that the death was caused by an "overdose".

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