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Politics

Killing Cover-Up: Family Of Dead Teenage Protester Say He Didn’t Commit Suicide

December 6, 2022
Roghiyeh Rezaei
4 min read
"Just like they have set up scenes for so many young people, they have done the same for this child”, the aunt of 17-year-old Iliad Rahmanipour says.
"Just like they have set up scenes for so many young people, they have done the same for this child”, the aunt of 17-year-old Iliad Rahmanipour says.

Iliad Rahmanipour, a 17-year-old teenager from the south-central Iranian city Firouzabad, disappeared on November 29. His body was found three days later, with disposable glasses and pills spread around him, as if he had committed suicide by swallowing alcohol and pills.

The family claim this is a scene set-up, and that Iliad had never had any suicidal thoughts, nor was he a drug or alcohol user. He was just a young protester.

Iranian government forces are routinely making up stories to try to cover up the killing of protesters who have taken to the streets across Iran over the past 12 weeks. The authorities are also trying to force the victims’ families to say their loved ones had died in an accident or committed suicide.

“His face was bruised, and we think he was beaten"

 On the afternoon of November 29, Iliad was taken to a doctor with a cold. Instead of returning home, he told his mother he wanted to go to see a friend. She asked the teenager to come back soon because there were protests on the streets.

This was the last time Iliad's mother saw her child alive.

"We are two sisters and have no brothers. My sister looked at Iliad as a brother", Nasrin Dolatyari, the teenager’s Netherlands-based aunt, told IranWire while bursting into tears.

"The father of Iliad is a worker in [port city of] Assaluyeh. Iliad went out that night and never came back. My sister has two daughters other than Iliad. At dinner time, the girls told their mother to eat, and their mother called Iliad but his phone was off. She called his friend, who said he had never gone to them. They became worried and informed the rest of the family, friends, acquaintances and whoever they thought he might have gone to. But they couldn’t find him. They contacted all the friends and family members. They also spoke to the police and intelligence department. They were told at about 5 p.m. on Friday that they had found Iliad's body behind the Fars Firouzabad passenger terminal".

The first person who saw the body was Nasrin Dolatyari’s husband. She quotes him: "The child was sitting on the floor, two hands in his pocket, a number of pills and dispensable glasses around him. His face was bruised, and we think he was beaten".

"It is said that the initial investigation was done by police, that there are no results yet and that they should carry on an autopsy. On Sunday, December 4, at 4 a.m., they summoned the family to travel 100 kilometers and go to Shiraz, where the autopsy was done. They said the result of the autopsy would be available in two or three months”.

“He was just hoping for the situation to change”

 "Just like they have set up scenes for so many young people, they have done the same for this child”, his aunt says.

“Iliad was an athlete and was practicing Taekwondo. He was very calm. He was not fond of having fun or drink alcohol, at that young age! There were no signs of depression in him, and he was fine. He was just hoping for the situation to change, because he was constantly posting on his Instagram page".

Like thousands of teenagers in the past weeks, Iliad joined the protest movement seeking a better life for young men and women, according to the family. They say that apart from his protest activity on Instagram, Iliad may have participated in rallies held in their town, where the security forces could have easily identified him, before torturing and murdering him.

"It is impossible for him to have an overdose or commit suicide," says Iliad's aunt. "It is incredible; they have staged the scene. My child is 21 and has lived in the Netherlands since the age of six. Two weeks ago, my son told me that Iliad is putting protest pictures on his Instagram page. We are sure they have set up the scene of his death”.

Before Iliad died, he sent a video to a friend in which he said he wanted to commit suicide because he was “very stressed”, Dolatyari says. “In that video Iliad seems to be in the mountains because there are city lights from a distance. There, he says, ‘I want to commit suicide’. He sent the video to his friend as if they had forced him to say such words”.

Ahead of Iliad's funeral, set for December 5, the family has been under pressure by the authorities not to talks about Iliad's death, the aunt says.

"We contacted one of the relatives and they spoke in a way that clearly showed they were under pressure. They say, ‘don't talk in a way that could create problems for me’. It clearly shows that everyone is under pressure not to break the news."

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