Wednesday, September 18, 2019 05:42

Haleh Sahabi dies in scuffle at father’s funeral

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Haleh Sahabi

Haleh Sahabi, the daughter of Iranian dissident Ezzatollah Sahabi died from a heart attack after security forces descended upon her father’s funeral.

Mizan website, the news outlet associated with the Nationalist-religious Coalition wrote: “A security official tried to grab a photo of Mr. Sahabi that Haleh Sahabi was pressing against her chest. The force of his action and her resistance caused her to fall, and then she did not rise.”

Haleh Sahabi’s son, Yahya Shamekhi said: “When they brought the body of my grandfather, the officials refused to let the ceremony go on, and arguments ensued. They finally seized his corpse and took it away by force.”

An unidentified journalist told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: “Haleh Sahabi suffered a heart attack after the plainclothes forces swarmed the scene and took the body of her father. She died on her way to Lavasan hospital.”

The report added that both plainclothes and uniformed security forces were present at the funeral and some engaged in beatings.

The head of Tehran Province Security Forces told ISNA, however, that Haleh Sahabi’s death was not related to the security forces, adding: “She suffered from heart problems, and this caused her death.”

“Her medical records are available,” Alireza Janeh added: “The death of her father as well as the heat led to her death.”

He denied the reports on various websites that security forces were involved in her death. He said: “Her family has been very cooperative with us, and we have also assisted them with the funeral.”

Ezzatollah Sahabi passed away on Tuesday at the age of 81 following a brain hemorrhage.

By numerous accounts, the funeral of the National-religious Coalition leader was disrupted by security forces, in contradiction of Janeh’s statements. There are even unconfirmed reports of people being arrested.

The semi-official Mehr News Agency, however, reported that the funeral of Ezzatollah Sahabi “was held in absolute peace without one political slogan being uttered by the participants.”

“The presence of security forces was completely evident at the funeral,” Mehr added. “Only a few limited scuffles occurred, and three people were arrested in front of the deceased’s home.”

IRNA also reported the arrest of five people who allegedly had spoken “inappropriately” with and about the security officers present at the scene.

IRNA attributed Haleh Sahabi’s death to “high blood pressure and sugar” and “emotional excitement.”

However, Fereydoon Sahabi, the brother of Ezzatollah Sahabi, told the opposition website Jaras that the funeral was forcefully attacked by the security forces. He said Haleh Sahabi was beaten by the security officers, and that’s what led to her heart attack.

He added that 30 people were arrested at the funeral.

Haleh Sahabi was arrested in the crackdown on post-election protesters in 2009. She was part of a demonstration in front of the Parliament building to challenge Ahmadinejad’s inauguration.

When her ailing father was in hospital, she was denied any visit.