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Iran: Authorities 'stole' body of teenage protester, report says

BBC report says Nika Shakarami, 16, disappeared for 10 days after joining protests and was later found in a morgue
Nika Shakarami was found dead days after joining protests in Tehran against the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini (Twitter/Screengrab)

Iranian security forces stole the body of a 16-year-old protester and secretly buried her in a village, according to a BBC report.

Nika Shakarami disappeared for 10 days after joining protests in Tehran on 20 September that were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for "inappropriate attire". 

'When we went to identify her, they didn't allow us to see her body, only her face for a few seconds'

- Nika Shakarami's aunt 

Shakarami’s family eventually found her body at a morgue in a detention centre in the Iranian capital, days after she told a friend she was being chased by security forces. 

"When we went to identify her, they didn't allow us to see her body, only her face for a few seconds," her aunt Atash Shakarami told BBC Persian. 

The family subsequently brought the body on Sunday, her 17th birthday, to her father’s hometown of Khorramabad in western Iran. 

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But the body was later "stolen" by Iranian forces and buried 40km away in the village of Veysian, a source close to the family said. 

Her aunt Atash has since been arrested, and authorities threatened to kill her if the family took part in protests, the source added. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Khorramabad cemetery to chant anti-government slogans following the 16-year-old's death.

Protest crackdown grows 

Last month, 22-year-old protester Hadis Najafi was shot dead by security forces near Tehran. 

Her body was initially not returned for two days after her father was asked by authorities to say she had died of a heart attack, according to the BBC report. 

On Sunday, in the latest move to suppress anti-government protests, Iranian authorities deployed plainclothes police and paramilitary forces to attack students organising sit-ins and demonstrations on university campuses.

The Norway-based Iran Human Rights group reported that by 2 October, 133 people had been killed during three weeks of protests.

Amini, a 22-year-old woman from the Kurdish city of Saqqez, was arrested in Tehran for allegedly wearing "inappropriate attire", and a few hours later, she was transferred from the morality police custody to Kasra Hospital, where she died.

Last week, MEE reported that Niloofar Hamedi, the journalist who had broken the news of Amini’s death, has been detained since 22 September. 

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday gave his full backing to security forces confronting protests, comments that could herald a harsher crackdown to quell the ongoing unrest.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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