Iranian security forces 'steal' body of teenage protester

Iranian security forces 'steal' body of teenage protester
Sixteen-year-old Nika Shakarami was 'killed by Iranian security forces' after taking part in an Iran protest.
2 min read
04 October, 2022
Nika Shakarami was at a protest when she was chased by security forces and never heard from again [Twitter screengrab]

Iranian security forces "stole" the body of a teenage protester to hold as "ransom" to ensure her family did not speak out against her suspected killing, BBC Persian has reported.

Nika Shakarami, 16, took part in a protest 10-days ago in Tehran, when she messaged a friend saying she was being chased by security forces and then disappeared.

Her family found her body at a detention centre morgue later but were only allowed to see body and only her face for a few seconds.

She was due to be buried in her father's hometown, Khorramabad, on Sunday, on what would have been her 17th birthday.

After pressure from authorities, her parents promised to forgo a funeral for their daughter but Shakarami's body was still snatched by security forces and buried in a village 40km away.

Hundreds of locals protested at the cemetery and chanted 'Death to the Dictator' - a slogan used by anti-government protesters against the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.

One person who filmed the demonstration was held by security forces who threatened to kill the detainee if their family took part in any protests.

Iranian authorities also held the body 22-year-old Hadis Najafi who was killed at a protest near Iran, demanding her family say she died of a heart attack.

"They wouldn't return the body for two days, asking her father to say she had died of a heart attack out of fear," sources told BBC Persian.

Iranian authorities have a history of withholding the bodies of detainees, sometimes as bargaining chips with the deceased's family.

Other times their remains are never released, as happened when Iran killed thousands of political prisoners in 1988 with many detainees buried in mass graves closed to the public.