Regime agents beat an Iranian woman to death at the funeral of her father, a respected opposition journalist and former member of parliament. They are now trying to cover up their crime. Government officials are saying that the woman, Haleh Sahabi, died of a heart attack, though medical professionals who treated her say her body showed signs of being beaten. Officials threatened Haleh’s son to pressure him to deny that his mother died as a result of beatings.
A surgeon who saw Haleh’s body says that the pallor indicates that she died of blood loss, not cardiac arrest, and that her torso showed signs of trauma. GreenCorrespondents.com, an opposition news service, just posted an audio of the surgeon, who did not know for a fact but surmised that Haleh died from a rupture of the spleen, and that only an autopsy could verify the cause of death. The regime has not permitted an autopsy.
Haleh age 54, was a prominent human rights activist and political prisoner and a friend of the Confederation of Iranian Students. Her father, Ezzatollah Sahabi, had been a supporter of the Islamist revolution of 1979 but later went into the opposition as a leader of a nationalist-religious movement. He died on May 31 at age 81. He was managing editor of the banned journal Iran-e-Farda (The Iran of Tomorrow), and had been a political prisoner.
Officials released Haleh from prison to attend her father’s funeral. Then a Basij paramilitary man murdered her.
At the June 1 funeral, plainclothes agents tried to snatch Ezzatollah Sahabi’s body from the gravesite, as they have done recently with the corpses of dead political prisoners. Trying to defend her father’s remains, Haleh got into an altercation with the agents, who then savagely beat her and others at the funeral. During the beating, the coffin fell. Islamic Republic agents then stole the body in the coffin, taking it away in an ambulance.
Here is what IranChannel’s correspondent reports from the funeral:
“She [Haleh] was holding a picture of her father and screaming and crying. The plainclothes agents present threatened her to be quiet and when she refused, one of them hit her so hard in the chest that she lost consciousness. She was taken to a nearby clinic where she died.
“She was not the only one beaten. Many of the mourners were beaten violently with clubs and some were arrested by the Basij and plainclothes agents. They were so violent that the police force present asked them to calm down.
“Among the arrested was the grandson of the late Ayatollah Montazeri, the cleric who was supposed to become the supreme leader after Khomeini but later was put under house arrest for twenty-some years after he opposed the executions of several thousand political prisoners at the time of Khomeini.”
Freedom Messenger has posted videos of the funeral and related events. Here are two of them, though they do not show the beating:
- Video of plainclothes security agents at Haleh’s home on June 1, after her death;
- Video of Haleh’s doctor telling of her cause of death.
IranChannel has received word that regime officials are not permitting an autopsy of Haleh’s body and have also stolen her corpse.
The incident has caught the attention of the United States government, with the US State Department demanding answers from the regime.