The name of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in police custody on September 16 after being arrested for improperly wearing the veil, might have quietly been added to the long list of victims of repression in Iran if millions of people — three million in the four days after his death alone — would not have responded to a social media campaign with a request: “Say his name.” But to the name of the young woman whose death was the trigger for the biggest protests in Iran in recent years, those of other victims have been added these days, many of them women, who have become icons of a brutality that has already claimed their lives. of at least 154 people at the hands of the Iranian security forces, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights. These are the stories of four of the victims of the repression of the protests in that country. Only one is still alive.
Teenager Nika Shahkarami’s trail was lost on September 20, when she took to the streets to take part in protests over the death of Mahsa Amini and burn her veil. In the last call she made before disappearing on the way to her house, the young woman told a friend that the security forces were following her, she explained to the BBC’s Persian service Atash Shahkarami, the aunt of she. Afterward, she followed an ordeal of silence for the family that lasted ten days, the time it took her loved ones to find her body in the morgue of a Tehran detention center. Her parents could only see her face for a few seconds; the rest of her body was covered, the parent said. According to the Iranian activist in the United States Masih Alinejad, on September 30 the authorities finally handed over the remains of the young woman to her family, with her nose shattered and her skull cracked by the beatings.
The Shahkarami family later transported the remains to her father’s town, Khorramabad, in western Iran, with the intention of burying her this Sunday, the same day she would have turned 17. Although the family agreed not to hold a funeral, a source quoted by the BBC has denounced that the security forces stole her body and buried it in another town to avoid further protests during the burial. A video of this teenager with a charismatic image in a country that forces women to wear uniforms with dungarees and dark scarves has gone viral. In it, between the laughter of her friends, Nika sings and dances a love song from Soltane Ghalbhaa famous Iranian film from 1968. According to the source quoted by the BBC, Atash Shahkarami is detained for having alluded to the death of her niece on her social networks.
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“I hope that in a few years, when I look back, I will be happy that everything has changed for the better.” Hadis Najafi, the 22-year-old Iranian who uttered that phrase in a video recorded with her cell phone on September 21 in Karak, a suburb of Tehran, will not have the opportunity to verify it. An hour after recording those images, security forces shot him several times, according to Amnesty International. They did it with a rifle loaded with pellets, but at close range, which caused fatal injuries to her face, neck and chest.
Najafi’s sister showed in a video the blood-soaked backpack the young woman was carrying when she was shot. Her mother stated: “My daughter was killed because of the hijab (veil). She lost her life for Mahsa. She wanted to keep Mahsa’s name alive.” The family of this victim has also denounced that the authorities retained her body for several days.
Like the two previous women, Minoo Majidi was not an opponent, but an ordinary Iranian. This 62-year-old mother of three children died on September 20, also shot by security forces, in Kermanshah, a Kurdish town in northwestern Iran, according to the human rights organization Hengaw.
One of her daughters was photographed in front of the woman’s grave, on which her image rested in a bed of flowers. The young woman posed in deep mourning, but with a white handkerchief around her neck, with her head, which she had shaved, uncovered, and with the hair that had been cut in her left hand. That desolate image; The serious but proud face of the young woman has become another symbol of the pain of the Iranian people. In that country, cutting your hair is a manifestation of mourning for the death of a loved one, but also a form of protest.
Iconic image of the daughter of Minoo Majidi, the women who was shot dead in protests in Kermanshah last week, standing at her mom’s grave with her own hair in hand. Iranian women have been cutting their hair as a sign of grief and resistance. #MahsaAmini
(Via @FarahmandAlipur) pic.twitter.com/BAndLJavxO
— Negar Mortazavi نگار مرتضوی (@NegarMortazavi) September 30, 2022
Niloofar Hamedi is an Iranian journalist, from the semi-reformist daily Shargh Daily, he was investigating the role of the morality police in the country’s society. On September 16, she managed to enter the Kasra hospital in Tehran, where a woman who had been detained by that police force three days earlier for wearing her veil incorrectly had just died. She was Mahsa Amini. The journalist tweeted that same day a photograph of the young woman’s parents broken in pain and melted into a hug after learning of her death. That image triggered popular outrage that has sent many Iranians into the streets.
Six days later, the police arrested the journalist at her home, searched her home and confiscated her belongings. Since September 22, she has been in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison. According to a tweet from her lawyer, Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi, she has not been informed of the charges against her.
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