Iranian Sarina Esmaeilzadeh, 16, whose last song before being killed broke her heart before she was beaten to death by Iranian security forces.
Omid Memarian, journalist and analyst from the United States, wrote: “Listen to Sarina Esmaeilzadeh, 16, full of life and hope. She was killed on September 23 in Karaj following beatings with truncheons, like many other young protesters who lost their lives for speaking their minds. These voices will not be silenced.
To listen #SarinaEsmaeilzadeh, 16 years old, full of life & hope. She was killed on September 23 in Karaj following beatings with truncheons, like many other young protesters who lost their lives for speaking their minds. These voices will not be silenced.#MahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/HCSH5X8EWL
— Omid Memarian (@Omid_M) October 6, 2022
There was rage and grief over Sarina’s death because the video of her singing so powerfully gripped hearts.
Comments such as “A young and dynamic life cut short by a repressive regime”.
Someone else cried: “Only 16… so beautiful, full of life. She could have been my daughter 😭😭 who is going to do these kids justice?
We don’t know if this is true, but someone else commented: “Unfortunately 😓
And today his mother committed suicide!
Someone else commented: “This video brings tears to your eyes…why did you have to murder this innocent girl???”
A furious person said: “Killing this 16-year-old child, because she had more intelligence, knowledge and understanding of life than all members of the Islamic Republic, understanding is dangerous for this, knowledge is dangerous for that, damn your Islamic Republic”.
Beaten to death by security forces in Iran, her death perhaps shakes people for the simple things she did and wrote in her energetic and very lively manner. Three days before her death, she wrote on social media: “Is it possible? The next day she wrote: “My country seems strange to me. She took part in a nationwide protest against 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s “morality” police. She died of her injuries on September 16. Sarina Esmaeilzadeh was beaten to death on September 23, 2022 in Karaj.
Sarina was an exceptionally brave girl, as there are many and more than 185 people have been killed by authorities in the protests that have swept Iran.
How did the protests start
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the non-profit human rights organization Iran Human Rights, told Andrew Castle that at least 185 people have been killed by authorities during protests that have swept Iran.
Mr. Amiry-Moghaddam’s findings come from research undertaken by Iran Human Rights.
The protests began on September 16, when irate crowds gathered to demand justice for the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s “morality” police.
Mahsa Amini was arrested on September 13 in Tehran, the Iranian capital, for allegedly wearing a “wrong” hijab. Under the Islamic Republic of Iran, the headscarf is compulsory and all women must by law cover their hair when outside their homes. Miss Amini was taken from her brother, who was told she would be taken to a detention center for a short ‘education lesson’. She died after that.
Nationwide protests have since morphed into a demand for basic human rights, women’s freedoms and an end to the corrupt theocratic rule that has held Iran together for 43 years.
“At least 185 people were killed by the authorities [in this series of protests]said Mr. Amiry-Moghaddam. “And they still go out in the street”.
In an exchange with Andrew Castle, Mr Amiry-Moghaddam said: “What we are seeing is a revolution of dignity made by women, we had Rosa Parks, now we have Iranian girls giving their lives to obtain fundamental rights and the world is watching as it happens”.
While regime authorities have applied brutality to stop peaceful protests, restricted internet access and spread misinformation, the protest movement has prevailed.
It was not without further tragedy, as Sarina Esmailzadeh and Nika Shakarami, two 16-year-olds who had joined protests against the government, were killed by the authorities.
Iranian authorities were quick to say Nika died after falling from a building, after potentially being pushed by workers. It was widely rumored that it took several days for his family to learn of his fate and receive his body.
The statement by Iranian authorities has been unanimously discredited, with Nika’s own mother stating that her body appeared largely unharmed, save for the presence of a large skull fracture on the back of her head.
Due to fear and pressure from the government to support her claims, Nika’s family members were prevented from revealing the truth about her death.
In a breakthrough yesterday, Nika’s mother Nazrin sent a video to US-funded media company Radio Farda which denounces the regime’s claims and details Nika’s fractured skull.
“It’s not just a mother talking under normal circumstances,” Mr Amiry Moghaddam said. “She is risking her life telling the truth as the authorities try to cover it up.” He said Nika’s family members were threatened and some of them were forced to come on TV and “confess” that their daughter had committed suicide.
Mr. Amiry-Moghaddam then painted a picture of the general mood in Iran and underlined the universal appeal of the protest movement.
“We’re talking about young people, old people and all sections of society who are taking to the streets empty-handed, asking for their basic rights and they’re protesting largely in a very civilized way,” he said.
“On the other side we have the armed security forces, you can compare them to ISIS, they have this kind of ideology, they shot people, and Nika and Sarina had been hit in the head by truncheons”.
Andrew then asked Mr Aminy-Moghaddam what he thinks Western governments and people should do to support the Iranian people in their demand for basic rights.
“Ordinary people have enormous power in democratic countries,” Mr. Amiry-Moghaddam said.
He then called on the British public to give clear support to the Iranian people and called on the United Nations to establish a mechanism that investigates and holds those responsible for this brutality to account.
Mr Amiry-Moghaddam noted that this is achievable, having been implemented in the context of Syria, but cautioned that it requires public pressure.