Teenager Killed in Isfahan During Protests Delivered to Family in a Shroud
“Who should we complain to? Our child is under the ground”
The body of teenager Mohammad Javad Abedi was delivered to his family wrapped in a shroud and ready for burial several days after he was killed by security forces in Isfahan during recent street protests that erupted in the city and across Iran after the government announced a sudden gasoline price hike, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
State security forces used lethal force to crush the November 2019 protests, including by firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed protestors.
“He would have been 17-years-old in two months,” Mohammad Javad’s father, Asghar Abedi, told CHRI. “He was a construction worker and didn’t study. On Sunday [November 17, 2019] he went to work and never came back. I called him over and over again after 6pm but he didn’t answer. We looked for him for two days but couldn’t find him.”
He added: “Then we got a call from the police detectives that my bank card had been found in Mohammad Javad’s pocket. We went to the station and found out he had been killed.”
Two days later, with the help of a relative who worked for the Islamic Propagation Organization, Mohammad Javad’s body was released for burial. He was laid to rest in Isfahan’s Rahnan district.
“They haven’t really told us anything. We didn’t see Mohammad Javad’s corpse so we don’t know where the bullet struck him. They didn’t give us a death certificate. They just said they would contact us later and explain how he was killed. So far we haven’t been contacted.”
Asghar Abedi continued: “We are religious people. We have martyrs in our family. I myself was in the frontlines for many years [during the Iran-Iraq war]. We didn’t bother anyone…
Asked if he was going to seek justice for his son’s death, Mohammad Javad’s father said: “Who am I going to sue? We didn’t see what happened and no one has told us anything. Who should we complain to? Our child is under the ground…”
On November 19, CHRI called for an investigation into the unprecedented number of deaths during the recent nationwide protests in Iran.
“There should be an independent investigation into any injuries or deaths sustained by protestors either on the street or once in state custody, and any officials implicated in unlawful violence should be held accountable,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.
Iranian authorities have not announced the number of casualties since November 15 when the gasoline price hike was introduced, but Amnesty International has estimated that at least 208 people have died.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, issued a statement on December 6 stating that the violent state response to the protests in Iran represented “clear violations of international norms and standards on the use of force” and that “those responsible must be held accountable.”