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16-year-old Iran girl reportedly beaten to death after refusing to sing pro-gov't anthem

By NICK GARCIA Published Oct 20, 2022 10:30 am

A 16-year-old girl from Iran was reportedly beaten to death by security forces in school after refusing to sing a pro-government anthem.

Citing the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations, The Guardian reported that Asra Panahi died after security forces raided Shahed High School in the northwestern city of Ardabil on Oct. 13. They reportedly demanded a group of girls to sing in praise of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

According to BBC, basing from the association's statement, a number of students refused and chanted against the government, prompting security personnel in plain clothes to insult and beat them.

Some girls, including Panahi, were taken to the hospital. Others were also arrested, The Guardian reported.

Panahi reportedly died in the hospital on Friday, Oct. 14, due to her injuries.

Iranian officials, however, denied the incident, with a man identified as Panahi's uncle telling state television that she had a heart problem.

Ardabil's member of parliament, Kazem Musavi, also claimed that Panahi had taken her own life by swallowing pills, BBC reported.

Protests have swept across Iran since September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who had been detained for supposed violation of Iran's strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab.

Schoolgirls have been on the fore of the demonstrations—waving their hijabs in the air, taking down pictures of Iran's supreme leaders, and shouting anti-regime slogans, according to The Guardian.

Authorities have since responded by raiding schools, with teenage girls reportedly being killed. But Iran officials have remained adamant and have denied the killings.

In another state television interview, relatives of two teenage girls who were killed during protests said security forces weren't responsible for their deaths.

Retired Iranian football star Ali Daei, who has supported the protests, questioned the veracity of the state television interviews in an Instagram post Oct. 18.

"History has proven who the liars are," Daei wrote, as he challenged authorities to tell the truth.

The Iran Human Rights group's report showed that as of Oct. 17, a total of 215 people, including 27 children, have been killed in the protests.