Shadmaan Ahmadi, a 33-year-old Kurdish protester, was arrested on October 9 when Iranian authorities raided his house in the town of Dehgolan, western Kurdistan Province.
Four hours later, the family was told Ahmadi had died after inflicting harm to himself while in detention.
But a source close to the Ahmadis told IranWire that the body bore clear signs of torture.
Iranian authorities have unleashed a bloody clampdown on ongoing nationwide protests that erupted after the September 16 death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s morality police.
More than 500 people have been killed and over 18,000 have been arrested in the crackdown on the protest movement, which represents one of the most serious challenges to the theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The demonstrations and state crackdown have been particularly intense in the country’s western Kurdish areas and the eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, home to a Sunni Baluch minority.
“His left leg was dragging behind him”
IranWire’s source said Ahmadi was arrested on charges of “leading riots."
After receiving news of his death, the family rushed to the office of Dehgolan Chief Justice Abdulqader Eftekhari, who said that after his arrest, Shadmaan was transferred from the Intelligence Department to Branch 3 of the Dehgolan Revolutionary Court, according to the source.
There, a clash allegedly erupted between Shadmaan and Judge Parham Hashempour and his secretary, and the detainee “hit his head with a broken glass, and that's why he died," Eftekhari was quoted as saying.
The source said he witnessed the moment when Ahmadi entered the judicial building, handcuffed and with his legs tied to each other.
"He limped severely with his left leg dragging behind him. It was clear that his left hand was also severely injured and he was in severe pain."
"The news of his death went viral. It was possible that angry protesters would attack the judicial building at any moment. To avoid that, Eftekhari told the family that Shadmaan's body had been transferred to another city and that they should go there to retrieve it.”
The Intelligence Department handed over Shadmaan's body late in the evening to avoid any gatherings, but hundreds of people attended the burial ceremony.
"Security forces accompanied the ambulance carrying Shadmaan's body, but they decided to leave when they saw the crowd.