Death of Iranian teenager Salina Esmerzad angers protesters

Sarina Esmaeilzadeh, 16, enjoys sharing her life with the world online. On her vlog, the glamorous teen sings, dances, cooks, puts on makeup and celebrates the end of exams. Human rights groups said in September that Ismailzad was beaten to death by Iranian security forces during protests that swept across the country on the 22nd.

As her case drew attention online, Iranian authorities on Friday denied any responsibility, claiming she committed suicide by jumping from a roof. But as Iran’s anti-government uprising enters its fourth week, the details of Ismailzad’s death in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, fit a broader pattern of security forces targeting, arresting and in some cases killing minors.

According to Amnesty International, Ismailzad “died after being severely beaten in the head with a baton”. As of 30 September, at least 52 people had been killed by security forces, 30 of whom were among them. 25, an account later confirmed by other rights groups.

On her blog, Esmaeilzadeh Occasionally laments the discrimination women face in Iran. In a video posted on May 22, she said teens “need to be free” to live a good life. But she can’t, she said, “because of some restrictions that specifically target women,” such as the mandatory headscarf and being banned from sports venues. Iranians, she said, “have nothing” from the government other than welfare.

“It’s not 20 years ago anymore and we haven’t seen any other teenagers except ourselves,” Esmaeilzadeh, wearing a colorful cartoon-print shirt, tells the camera. “As a human, it’s only natural that you look for better options.”

Esmaeilzadeh’s case is chilling similar to Nika Shakarami, 16, was also killed in protests last month. Her family claims she was killed by security forces after burning her hijab, while Iranian authorities claim she fell during a robbery. Shakarami’s death, and an apparent attempt to cover it up and terrorize her family, sparked further outrage.

The unexplained death of another young woman, Mahsa Amini, 22, in the custody of Iran’s moral police in mid-September first sparked nationwide protests. Despite the violent crackdown and internet shutdown, popular unrest has continued, posing the biggest challenge to Iran’s civilian leadership in years.

“I can see that after the increase in the killings, the protests spread further, especially with Nika and Sarina being killed,” Nejin, 36, an art teacher at a high school in Tehran who participated in the protests, told “Washington post”. She speaks on condition that she use only her name for her safety.

One of her male relatives initially thought the protests were “a mess made by a bunch of spoiled kids,” Negin said. But he was very saddened by the death of Esmaeilzadeh, which he likened to Iran losing a great poet.

Iran’s censorship and reporting restrictions make it difficult to verify casualties, but human rights groups have identified more than two dozen children killed in the demonstrations. Many of the minors live in Iran’s long-marginalized regions, including Kurdistan and Balochistan, where the crackdown has been harshest.

Esmaeilzadeh reportedly went to protest in September. 22 After class with a few friends. She didn’t come back that night.

Reports of Esmaeilzadeh’s death and a video from her blog soon began circulating online.A video of a teen singing a song Irish musician Hozier contacted the singer on Friday, he said.

“We talk about freedom without understanding what it means to pay the ultimate price for freedom,” Hozier tweeted. “This brave girl is only 16 years old in the world…”

Under pressure, Iranian authorities said on Friday the teen had committed suicide by jumping from a five-story building. State television also aired an interview with Esmaeilzadeh’s mother, who said her daughter had attempted suicide with pills. She confirmed the official cause of death.

But Iran has long forced confessions and aired them on state television, according to human rights groups. Shakarami’s mother said her family was forced to make false statements about her daughter’s death.

State television was briefly hacked on Saturday by a group calling itself “Adalat Ali” or Ali’s Justice. Hackers interrupted news announcements with slogans in support of the protest and pictures of slain demonstrators, including Esmaeilzadeh.

“The main core of this revolution is Sarina and her generation,” Negin said. “A group fully aware of their rights, connected to the world, and very aware of what they are being deprived of…they are not afraid [my] generation. “

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