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Iran says journalists charged after BBC report on protester death

Image source, ATASH SHAKARAMI

Legend, Nika Shakarami’s family has rejected authorities’ claims that she committed suicide

  • Author, David Gritten
  • Role, BBC News

Iranian courts have filed charges against “a number of journalists and activists” after the publication of a BBC report alleging that men working for security forces had sexually assaulted and killed a 16-year-old female protester.

Judicial news agency Mizan has called BBC Eye’s investigation into the death of Nika Shakarami in 2022 “false, incorrect and full of errors”.

She did not identify the individuals summoned for allegedly “disrupting the psychological security of society.”

But two Iranian journalists who commented on the report online said prosecutors had opened cases against them.

One of them, Mohammad Parsi, wrote on Twitter/X that the Tehran prosecutor’s office had summoned him for publishing an “article about Nika Shakarami and the details of her murder.”

The second, Marzieh Mahmoodi, said that “neither the accusations nor the details are known.”

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Wednesday dismissed the findings of the BBC investigation as a plot by Iran’s enemies, becoming the first official to comment publicly.

“The enemies and their media used false and unreal information to carry out psychological operations,” he told reporters outside a cabinet meeting, according to state media.

Mr Vahidi claimed it was an “attempt to distract” from ongoing pro-Palestinian protests in the United States as well as the Iranian missile and drone attack on Israel last month .

There was no immediate comment from BBC News on the statements by Mr Vahidi and the judiciary.

Nika Shakarami has become a symbol of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement that shook the Islamic Republic two years ago.

The protests erupted in response to the death in custody on September 16, 2022, of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been arrested by the capital’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab “incorrectly.”

On September 20, 2022, Nika was filmed at a protest in Tehran setting her headscarf on fire, while other protesters chanted “Death to the dictator” – a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei .

She disappeared that evening after telling a friend she was being chased by security forces.

His family eventually found his body in a morgue more than a week later. They said she died from blows to the head and rejected authorities’ claims that she killed herself by jumping from the roof of a building.

The BBC Eye investigation, published on Monday, was based on what appears to be a leaked internal document summarizing a hearing into Nika’s case held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to the document, the teenager was arrested by members of a paramilitary group deployed by the IRGC as an undercover team to monitor protests in Tehran that day.

The document details a series of events that allegedly occurred while Nika was held in the back of an unmarked refrigerated van with three team members. These include:

  • One of the men attacked her while he was sitting on top of her.
  • Although she was handcuffed and tied, she defended herself by kicking and swearing.
  • An admission that this prompted the men to beat her to death with batons
  • An IRGC officer ordered the men to dump his body in the street.

The BBC report acknowledges that there are many fake Iranian official documents in circulation, but says “extensive investigations indicate that the documents we have obtained chronicle the teenager’s final movements.”

The BBC also submitted these allegations to the IRGC and the Iranian government before publication, but they did not respond.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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