An Iranian mother rejects version of the death of her daughter

The mother of a 16-year-old Iranian has rejected the official version that her daughter died when she fell from a tall building, saying that the teenager died as a result of blows to the head during the repression against the protests that are shaking the country.

Nasreen Shakarami further said that authorities kept her daughter Nika’s death a secret for nine days and then took the body out of a morgue for burial in a remote area, against the family’s wishes. Her mother spoke in a video message Thursday to Radio Farda, the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Farsi-language station.

Nika Shakarami is a new emblem of the protests, considered the biggest threat in decades to the ruling elite of Iran. Authorities’ attempts in recent days to describe the teenager’s death as an accident may indicate fears the incident will spark further anger against the government.

The protests, which entered their fourth week on Saturday, were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of morale police, who had arrested her for alleged violations of the strict Islamic dress code.

Young women have often led the protests, ripping off headscarves and headscarves and waving them in defiance and calls for the downfall of the government.

The protests quickly spread to towns across Iran. The government has responded with a fierce crackdown that includes beatings, arrests and killings of protesters, as well as internet shutdowns.

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