Dead at 16, Nika Shakarami has become the new face of the revolt

The teenager disappeared at the end of September while on her way to a demonstration against compulsory hijab. Her family is convinced that the authorities beat her to death.

A wide smile lights up her fragile face. With short black locks, 16-year-old Nika Shakarami lets out some voices under the laughter of her classmates in an amateur video. Mobilized against the mandatory use of the veil, she suddenly disappeared on September 20. Her family is convinced that the authorities beat her to death.

Found dead in murky circumstances

Now he embodies one of the emblematic faces of the Iranian uprising and its brutal repression. After going to an anti-hijab demonstration at the end of September, like many Iranian teenagers for several weeks, Nika no longer shows any signs of life.

She was eventually found dead ten days later, in murky circumstances. Summoned to the morgue, her family is only allowed to see part of the young woman’s face for a few seconds and is not allowed to organize a public funeral.

But what happened? “The day of her disappearance I was in contact with her until 7 at night,” her aunt recalls to the BBC.

“Her friend told me that she posted a video on Instagram of her veil burning and that the police were chasing her,” he said. She adds that her niece’s social networks were deleted after her disappearance.

An open investigation

The case caused a stir, to the point that the Iranian justice system opened an investigation into this suspicious death. Eight people are quickly arrested, but the police are acquitted.

According to an Iranian magistrate, the young woman’s body had “multiple fractures” that “indicate that the person was thrown from a place located in height”, indicates the BBC.

For her relatives, the reasons for Nika’s death are not in doubt: she was beaten to death for her political involvement. At Nika Shakarami’s funeral, cries of “death to the dictator” sound.

The teenager’s mother assures Radio Farda that she was forced to publish a false press release about Nika’s death, in which she assures that her daughter committed suicide, she says The Guardian. He accuses the Iranian authorities of being responsible for his disappearance.

Documented police violence

Case rare enough to be underlined, Iranian state television gets hold of the teen’s story. In a report broadcast by FARS TV, the young Nika appears in images from a video surveillance camera. We see her enter a building. Subject’s comment then suggests that she was followed there, before being thrown from the roof of the building.

If the circumstances of Nika Shakarami’s disappearance remain unknown, NGOs have been documenting the violence and torture perpetrated by Iranian security forces for weeks.

The story of the young Nika has in any case enough to revive the anger of Iranians, many of whom have spoken out since the death of the young Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, on September 16. She had been arrested three days earlier for “wearing inappropriate clothing”.

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