IRAN: Father of shooting victim arrested for mourning his son
The father of a young man shot dead in recent weeks of unrest in Iran has been arrested by security forces, reformist news media reported today.
On Thursday afternoon, a group of plainclothes young men believed to be members of the pro-government Basiji militia, accompanied by uniformed security forces, went to the home of Massoud Hashemzadeh (left), a 27-year-old man killed a bullet to the heart June 20 during a day of rioting in Tehran in which the famous Neda Agha-Soltan was also slain.
The man was buried in his birth village in the north of Iran, but the family was barred from holding any commemorative ceremonies.
Still well-wishers insisted on going to the home of the bereaved family to offer their condolences.
The Basiji militiamen detained Hashemzadeh's father after ripping down photographs of his son and messages of condolences hanging on the walls outside the family home, according to a report by Norooz News, a Persian-language news website that is an online reincarnation of a popular and well-regarded reformist newspaper shuttered by authorities years ago.
Hashemzadeh's two brothers refused to allow their father to be taken away by himself, and insisted on being detained as well.
Today's incident followed harrowing weeks in which the grieving family was repeatedly denied permission by authorities to hold a mourning ceremony for Hashemzadeh, a tale recounted a couple of days ago to BBC's Persian-language service by his brother and father.
"They said, 'If you hold a ceremony, you and your family will have great difficulties,'" the father told BBC.
In Iran's majority Shiite faith, mourners traditionally gather on the 40th day after someone's death. Iranians anticipate fresh confrontations July 30, when protesters will attempt to commemorate the deaths of Agha-Soltan and others during the June 20 unrest.
-- Los Angeles Times
Photo: Massoud Hashemzadeh.