Asra Panahi, 16-year-old schoolgirl, beaten to death in Iran
Asra Panahi a schoolgirl in Iran was killed for refusing to sing a song in her class that supported the Tehran government.
As reported by the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, security agents allegedly battered Asra Panahi, 16, and many of her classmates after a raid on the Shahed Girls High School in Ardabil on October 13 during widespread protests. A number of the girls were transported to the hospital, while others were detained. Panahi is said to have passed away from her wounds.
Iranian government representatives denied any wrongdoing, and after worldwide outrage over her passing, a man posing as her uncle later emerged on state television to claim she had a congenital heart ailment.
Following the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the morality police’s custody in August, protests have erupted across Iran in recent weeks. Younger women and girls have been particularly active in challenging the regime, with videos of many of them removing their hijabs and screaming anti-Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei slogans going viral.
The country’s teachers’ association termed the response on protestors “brutal and barbaric,” and it included raids on schools that resulted in arrests, beatings, and use of tear gas. According to the Iran Human Rights Association, 215 people have already died as a result of the protests and the accompanying crackdown, including 27 children.
The Guardian publication quoted a student using the pseudonym Naznin as saying: “I haven’t been allowed to go to school because my parents fear for my life. But what has it changed? The regime continues to kill and arrest schoolgirls.
“What good am I if I simply sit outraged at home? Myself and fellow students across Iran have decided to stand in protest on the streets this week. I’ll do it even if I have to now hide it from my parents.”
In addition to Panahi’s passing and the murders of two other Iranian schoolgirls, Nika Shahkarami, 17, and Sarina Esmailzadeh, 16, another woman who went by the name of Nergis informed The Guardian that she had been hit with rubber bullets after attending a protest.
“I don’t have a single relative in Ardabil,” Nergis said, “but with this brutal crackdown on our sisters, who were just 16 years old, they’ve awakened the whole nation.
“We never knew we were so united — across the Baloch regions as well as the Kurdish regions. The world has heard about Nika, Sarina and Asra, but there are so many other nameless children who we know nothing about.
“The Islamic Republic has been killing our people for 40 years, but our voices weren’t heard. Let the world know this is no longer a protest — we are calling for a revolution. Now that you’re all listening to our voices, we will not stop.”