Protests against government influence continue in Iran and around the world. A 16-year-old named Sarina Esmaeilzadeh was killed by security forces during the protests, which has renewed ire in protesters fighting against government control and violence.
Sarina Esmaeilzadeh joined the protests that started in September, but during the protests, rights groups say she was “beaten to death by Iranian security forces,” per The Washington Post.
However, Iranian authorities denied responsibility for her death and claim that “she died by suicide by jumping off a roof,” according to The Washington Post.
The nonprofit organization Iran Human Rights alleges Esmaeilzadeh’s death follows a pattern of brutal beatings by Iranian security forces, and her family was forced to hold a quick private burial “under strict security measures.”
Iran Human Rights says that after four weeks of unrest, at least 185 people have been killed.
Initial protests began after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was beaten and killed by police forces for failing to adhere to strict morality laws, citing that she was taken into morality police custody for wearing a loose hijab, per The New York Times.
“The Iranian authorities knowingly decided to harm or kill people who took to the streets to express their anger at decades of repression and injustice,” Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard said on Amnesty International’s news blog.
Esmailzadeh’s YouTube videos, which have gone viral on social media networks, show her listening to music, dancing and talking about her dreams of travelling. In one widely shared video, Esmailzadeh is seen singing along to Hozier’s Take Me to Church while driving with her family.
In others, she talks about women’s rights, including her rejection of the mandatory hijab, and her anger about the economic situation in Iran.
In private message groups, schoolgirls across Iran said they were planning protests at the weekend to show solidarity with Esmailzadeh and Nika Shakarami, the 17-year-old schoolgirl who went missing on 20 September and was also allegedly tortured and killed by Iran’s security forces.
Despite claims that Shakarami was beaten and raped, and that her body was stolen from her family and buried without their consent, Iranian officials said Shakarami had also killed herself by jumping from the roof of a building.
This week, however, Shakarami’s mother accused the Iranian authorities of murdering her daughter and claimed they tried to force her to release a statement saying Shakarami had taken her own life.
On Friday the Irna news agency reported that an Iranian coroner’s report into the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police and whose death ignited widespread protests, concluded that she did not die due to blows to the head and limbs but from multiple organ failure caused by cerebral hypoxia after she fell while in custody, due to “underlying diseases”.
Twitter user wrote: “Sarina Esmaeilzadeh 16 yr smart and brilliant. She was beaten to death by IRGC for standing up for her rights. She was a true fan of football, but none of the Iranian footballers mentioned her name, afraid of loosing their place in Iran’s team.