“The Person Who Shot Her Was on Top of a Building”
Family Demands Justice for Young Mother Golnar Samsami
Golnar Samsami was on her way home after work when she was struck in the head by a bullet on Vali Asr St. in the city of Shahriar, Tehran Province, on November 17, 2019, her family member told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
According to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, a video of Samsami’s lifeless body is viewable on social media networks. The clip shows people gathering around a woman lying on a sidewalk as a man shouts, “She has a hole in her head. She’s dead.”
Samsami was a 34-year-old mother to a boy. She worked at a pharmaceutical laboratory near the location of the incident.
“After closing the lab, Golnar and a co-worker were waiting for a taxi to go home but she never got there,” the source told CHRI on December 15. “The person who shot her was on top of a building and it’s very important for us to know who it was and why he did it. We don’t care if he acted on behalf of the regime or if he was an opponent or somebody else. The family wants to know how could he shoot and kill an innocent woman just standing there waiting for a car.”
“The authorities could easily identify Golnar’s killer–if they wanted to,” added the source. “From the bullet that remained in her skull, they could tell what weapon was used and who used it.”
After being shot, Samsami was taken to the local Sajjad Hospital. The source told CHRI:
Golnar’s coworker had called the family and told them what had happened. The family went to the hospital and were told that she had died from a brain injury but were not allowed to take her body. They were told to go to the Medical Examiner’s Officer and the officials there would not deliver the body without a letter from the prosecutor’s office…
Finally, on November 21 the prosecutor’s office gave them a letter and the body was released for burial. There were security agents at the funeral, but they didn’t bother anyone and everything went ahead according to plan. They were very cooperative because they knew Golnar was innocent. The family insisted on Golnar being declared a martyr.
A word that’s typically used in Iran to describe a person who willingly gave his or her life for their country or Islam, martyrs are widely honored and respected and memorialized by the government. Families of martyrs are also treated with great respect.
On December 4, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued an order declaring that all “ordinary citizens with no role in the recent protests and riots who died in the clashes” should be treated as “martyrs.”
Khamenei’s statement excluded peaceful protesters who were killed by state authorities and who’ve been smeared by officials as enemies of the state. It’s unclear whether the government has categorized Samsami as a protester or a martyr.
According to Amnesty International, at least 304 people were killed in Iran between November 15-18, 2019, after protests in response to a sudden gasoline price hike erupted in dozens of cities throughout the country. Thousands were also injured and arrested, including children as young as 15.
“The prosecutor, his assistant, the head of the Basij [volunteer paramilitary] militia and the Friday Prayer leader of Shahriar visited Golnar’s family and offered their condolences,” said the family member who spoke to CHRI. “They said they were looking for the killer.”
“The family told them that anywhere in the world Golnar would be considered a martyr because she was killed in connection with her work while serving society… She was not taking part in the protests or anything like that.”
The family source added that a reporter for the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting organization came to the house to conduct an interview but was told, “You can’t do anything to help us ease the pain. What’s important is that she is gone, and no one can bring her back.”
Read this article in Persian.