Tuesday, September 17, 2019 06:30

Activists call for probe into death of Haleh Sahabi

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Haleh Sahabi

Iran’s Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists has called on the Islamic Republic judiciary to investigate the death of Haleh Sahabi at her father’s funeral on Wednesday and the involvement of security forces there.

Mizan Khabar and several other opposition websites have published the council’s announcement accusing Islamic Republic security forces of causing the death of Haleh Sahabi, a prominent Iranian social activist and member of the Mothers of Peace. The announcement says: “We call for the establishment of a fair and open court and jury to prosecute the perpetrators of this shocking crime.”

On Wednesday, the funeral of Ezzatollah Sahabi, the leader of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition, was overrun by security forces trying to seize the body of the deceased. Eyewitnesses say Sahabi’s daughter, Haleh Sahabi, was beaten by the security officials at the scene and died of a cardiac arrest.

The government claims Haleh Sahabi’s death was bought on by the stress of her loss, the heat and her history of cardiac complications.

The announcement indicates that the Sahabi family intended to hold a traditional religious ceremony for the aged political dissident and did not want the affair to turn into a political gathering. For this purpose, they had agreed to all the restrictions laid out by security forces.

Despite their efforts, they add, after Mr. Sahabi’s coffin was carried from the house, both plainclothes and uniformed officials swarmed the mourners and began to beat them. One officer tore a photo of the deceased from the hands of Haleh Sahabi and ripped it to pieces.

“A plainclothes official, ordered by a plainclothes colonel, hit Haleh Sahabi on her side in front of security and intelligence cameras. Haleh Sahabi fell to the ground after the beating,” the announcement relates. “Since there were no emergency personnel at the scene, the mourners took her body and carried her to a car. She was still only half inside the car when officials began pressing the door shut on her body.”

The Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists adds that officials later seized Haleh Sahabi’s corpse and forced the family to bury it immediately —the only nighttime burial in the history of Lavasan cemetery.

Prior to this announcement, Hojjatoleslam Ahmad Montazeri and his son Hamed Montazeri, who were both present at the funeral, have publicly stated that Haleh Sahabi was in effect “murdered” by the government forces that swarmed the ceremony and beat her.

The Coalition of Green Path of Hope, the group that speaks for incarcerated opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. has also called for “a fact-finding probe into the recent crime.”

Several other opposition groups and human rights organizations have called for an investigation into the death of Haleh Sahabi, but the Islamic Republic government has yet to respond.