LONDON: Security forces in Iran snatched the body of a 16-year-old protester and buried her secretly in a village, BBC Persian reported on Tuesday.
Nika Shakarami’s family planned to bury her on Monday, but her body was stolen and buried in a village about 40 km away.
The teenager went missing for 10 days after protesting in the Iranian capital Tehran on Sept. 20 over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
Shakarami’s disappearance and death unleashed an outpouring of anger on Iranian social media.
Her aunt told BBC Persian that she had sent a final message to a friend saying she was being chased by security forces.
Shakarami’s body was eventually found by her family in a morgue at a detention center in Tehran.
“When we went to identify her, they didn’t allow us to see her body, only her face for a few seconds,” Nika’s aunt, Atash Shakarami, said.
Shakarami’s family transferred her body to Khorramabad, her father’s hometown in the west of the country, on Sunday — on what would have been her 17th birthday.
After her family was forced to abandon its funeral plans, Shakarami’s body was stolen by security forces from Khorramabad and buried in the village of Veysian.
In response, hundreds of protesters gathered in Khorramabad cemetery and chanted slogans against the regime, including “death to the dictator,” a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Shakarami’s aunt was arrested on Sunday after posting about her niece on social media.
She was also threatened with death by security forces in an effort to stop family members taking part in the protests.
Iranian authorities have used protesters’ bodies as “bargaining chips” to silence the families of victims in the past.