This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Human rights groups say Iranian authorities have forced the family of one of the victims killed by security forces during protests in the Kurdish city of Mahabad to bury their son’s body in the middle of the night under strict security measures.
The France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network claimed in a report on November 25 that forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted 32-year-old Shamal Khediri with direct fire last week during the bloody suppression of protests in the northwestern Iranian city of Mahabad. He died after being transferred to hospital on November 24.
The Norway-based Hengaw rights group said that after handing over Khediri’s body to his family, several security forces escorted them to Mahabad and forced them to bury his body “in the middle of the night.”
Activists say the increasingly violent suppression of protesters in western Iran is an attempt by authorities to create fear among protesters and quell the nationwide protests that have rocked the country since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died on September 16 while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.
They added that forcing families to bury those killed by security forces is an attempt to cover up the incidents and limit the chances of funerals turning into massive demonstrations.
The Kurdistan Human Rights Network and Hengaw, two groups that monitor the human rights situation in Kurdistan Province, reported on November 25 that Heman Aman, a man from the Iranian-Kurdish city of Bukan, was tortured to death after being shot and kidnapped by government forces.
According to the reports, the 26-year-old Aman died on November 23 “as a result of severe torture by agents of the Urmia Intelligence Department” at a detention center.
The report added that Aman’s body was also buried at the middle of the night under the pressure of security forces after being handed over to his family.
The IRGC has accused Kurdish groups of “attacking and infiltrating Iran to sow insecurity and riots and spread unrest” amid protests that erupted over Amini’s death.
Anger over Amini’s death has prompted thousands of Iranians to take to the streets to demand more freedoms and women’s rights. The widespread demonstrations represent the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.
The activist HRANA news agency said that as of November 23, at least 445 protesters had been killed during the unrest, including 61 minors, as security forces try to stifle widespread dissent.