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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Deepa Parent and Annie Kelly

Another teenage girl dead at hands of Iran’s security forces, reports claim

Reports are emerging of the death of another teenage girl at the hands of security forces in Iran, as protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini looked set to enter their third week.

Sarina Esmailzadeh, a 16-year-old who posted popular vlogs on YouTube, was killed when the security forces beat her with batons at a protest in Gohardasht in Alborz province on 23 September, according to Amnesty International.

Citing a primary source, a statement by Amnesty International also claimed that Esmailzadeh’s family had been subjected to “intense harassment to coerce them into silence”, claims denied by Iranian officials.

Today, as news of Esmailzadeh’s death spread on social media, Iran’s Isna news agency reported that the chief justice of Alborz province said that a preliminary investigation had shown the teenager’s death was suicide after she jumped from the roof of a five-storey building, and that Esmailzadeh had a history of mental health problems.

Esmailzadeh’s YouTube videos, which have gone viral on social media networks, show her listening to music, dancing and talking about her dreams of travelling. In one widely shared video, Esmailzadeh is seen singing along to Hozier’s Take Me to Church while driving with her family.

In others, she talks about women’s rights, including her rejection of the mandatory hijab, and her anger about the economic situation in Iran.

In private message groups, schoolgirls across Iran said they were planning protests at the weekend to show solidarity with Esmailzadeh and Nika Shakarami, the 17-year-old schoolgirl who went missing on 20 September and was also allegedly tortured and killed by Iran’s security forces.

Despite claims that Shakarami was beaten and raped, and that her body was stolen from her family and buried without their consent, Iranian officials said Shakarami had also killed herself by jumping from the roof of a building.

This week, however, Shakarami’s mother accused the Iranian authorities of murdering her daughter and claimed they tried to force her to release a statement saying Shakarami had taken her own life.

On Friday the Irna news agency reported that an Iranian coroner’s report into the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police and whose death ignited widespread protests, concluded that she did not die due to blows to the head and limbs but from multiple organ failure caused by cerebral hypoxia after she fell while in custody, due to “underlying diseases”.

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