What actually happened to Nika Shahkarami? Her Last Hour Witnesses Cast Doubts About Iran’s Story | CNN

CNN — A black-clad Iranian girl stands above an overturned trash can and waves a head scarf engulfed in flames while chanting “Death to the dictator”. Moments later, in her video, she crouched down and set a fire in front of protesters to collect another one of her scarves from her friend. The girl was 16-year-old Nika Shahkarami from Tehran. Hours after the footage was recorded on September 20, Nika goes missing in a video obtained and verified exclusively by CNN. And a week later, her family learned that she had died. Iranian authorities claimed that on the morning of September 21, Nika’s body was found behind a courtyard. ​Her mother was not able to verify her identity until eight days later. CCTV footage released by the authorities, timestamped shortly after midnight as September 20 became September 21, showed Nika entering an uninhabited building still under construction in Tehran. A Tehran prosecutor initially said she died after being thrown off the roof of a building and that her death was “not related to the protests on the day”, although she did not reveal whether there were any suspects, despite the fact that she explicitly declared her death a murder. It didn’t. under investigation. State television reported that she had “fallen”, but provided no evidence to support her claim that it was an accident. After CNN asked the government for comment on the evidence in the investigation on Wednesday, Iranian media reports cited Tehran prosecutors as saying that Nika’s death was a suicide. Iranian authorities have yet to respond to repeated CNN inquiries about Nika’s death. Authorities did not explain why Nika entered the building on her own, and Nika’s mother doesn’t believe the person wearing her mask is Nika, she said. Her mother said she believed Nika was murdered by the authorities, but authorities did not reveal whether she was detained at what point Nika was. However, according to dozens of videos and eyewitness accounts obtained exclusively by CNN, it appears that Nika was kicked out by Iranian security forces that night. One of the key witnesses, Radan, told CNN that she saw “several large-bodied plainclothes security officers” tying her Nika to her car, detaining her during protests. Not long ago, this eyewitness filmed a video of Shaka Rami crouching behind a white car and shouting “tekoon nakon, tekoon nakon” while stuck in a traffic jam in Tehran. Before her driver fled from her short shelter it gave her. Seven people who knew her nika and interviewed CNN confirmed that it was her nika. The same video, filmed at 8:37 pm on September 20, also showed riot police on motorcycles patrolling the area. “I wanted to save her, but I couldn’t,” Ladan said. “There were about 20 or 30 Basijis on motorcycles on the sidewalks,” she said, using the local name of a paramilitary group at the forefront of the state’s crackdown on protesters. ​”Shahkarami was throwing stones at them. I was scared and passed by and said, ‘Be careful!’ Her street was full of plainclothes cops passing between her cars looking for her. Ladan added, “She caught her from her 50 meters in front of her.” Ladan came to CNN when she realized that the teenager she was filming and talking to was a teenager whose death was reported a few days later. CNN spoke exclusively with several eyewitnesses to the Tehran protests on September 20 with the help of activist group 1500Tasvir. Other videos, including a video of a scarf burning, are evidence that, according to several testimonies, Nika was at the forefront of protests early the night before the crackdown began. Witnesses said they may have been targeted by security forces, including Iranian feared Bashi militiamen, who, according to the witnesses, began descending into the area surrounding the University of Tehran and Keshavarz Boulevard. “She remembers how brave she was because she climbed her bin and didn’t come down. She also burned her head scarf,” said protester Naj Meh, who was with Nika at the protest. CNN is using a pseudonym because of the risk to the safety of all witnesses cited in the investigation. Students gathered around 5-6pm on September 20 near Lale Park to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman who died in state custody after being detained by the State Moral Police last month. She says it’s because of her attire. It’s a familiar scene in Tehran in recent weeks. There were scenes of young people, mostly women, shouting “Death to the dictator”, burning headscarves and throwing stones at security forces. At one point, a trash can fell and blocked the road. Nika climbed to the top with the other two. “She burned her head scarf and shook it. She told me not to shake it because she could burn it. She told me to hold it until it burned out.” Nima, who attended the protest and witnessed the unfolding, said: “She took the head scarves of two friends with her and burned them.” Nika is shown throwing stones at riot police, wearing a unique CAT backpack, black mask and hat on her head ​Sounds like gunshots can be heard. Witnesses say the security forces crackdown between 7 and 8 p.m. “They were firing tear gas and bullets and holding on to the protesters. Almost all of us were fighting them and running away,” said another witness, Reza. As riot police and Basij troops filled the streets, the protesters marched. Another witness, Dina, who spent part of the protest walking with Nika, told CNN she saw Nika in front of a gas station not far from the University of Tehran. The detained people were captured on video, Reza added: “I saw firsthand security forces beating women with clubs. They caught many women and took them to police cars.” The last time Nika was seen by eyewitnesses interviewed by CNN, as the protests were extremely suppressed, was nine more days before Nika’s family was officially informed of her whereabouts. proves that she was detained by security forces on three sides, showing the girl alive in the last eyewitness video provided to CNN: “I think Nika was trapped while we were running that night, because she was very young.” Dina said Iranian authorities are claiming that Nika was killed in an unmanned building, but her mother Nasrin told Etemad, an independent Iranian newspaper published on October 10, that her daughter had been “killed in the protests”. Iranian security forces arrested eight workers in the building where Nika entered, hours after witnesses saw her during the Sept. 20 protests, state news agency Tasnim reported on Oct. 4, Tehran’s prosecutor. Ali Salehi recounted the judicial criminal case, expressing his condolences to Nika’s family, according to state-run IRNA: Mohammad Sharariri, head of criminal prosecution in Tehran province, was initially responsible for the “fall” of Nika’s injury. ​, feet and buttocks, Tasnim reported. “The investigation has shown that the incident was not related to the protests. No bullet holes were found in the body.” We have repeatedly asked Iranian authorities for comment on whether he was detained or whether other women were assaulted and rode into a police car.CNN also asked the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office the status of the criminal investigation into Nika’s death. Iranian judiciary’s online news outlet Mizan reported on Wednesday that Nika’s death was a suicide, citing prosecutors in t, but a death certificate first seen by the BBC Persian and confirmed by CNN showed that Shahkarami was struck by a hard object. In an interview with Etemad, Nasrin said that Shahkarami had several phone calls the day she disappeared.The background noise during the call means she and other protesters are fleeing the security forces, Nasrin added. also mentioned a few places where she was, such as Enghelab Square, Keshavarz Boulevard, and Valiasr Street, according to Nasrin, which coincides with a video that CNN geolocated. All. Nasrin’s last call with her daughter was just before her midnight, after which she noticed that Nika’s phone was disconnected in every attempt she made to her. Nika’s Instagram and Telegram accounts have been deleted, according to Nika’s aunt and several protesters interviewed by CNN. Her family says they have searched police stations, prisons and hospitals for several days to find traces of her, but to no avail. Finally, on September 30, Nika’s mother and older brother were asked to identify Nika’s body, she told BBC Persian.​ In an interview with Radio Farda on 6 October, Nasrin was a few days after her disappearance. While looking for Nika with her family for a while, a man gave her Nika’s social security number and said, “The IRGC wanted her to be interrogated slowly,” Shahkarami’s aunt Atash told the BBC Persians shortly after she disappeared.” An unofficial source contacted me and this child was in our custody a week ago, and a day or two before (her) Evin Jail after we investigated and filed the case file.” According to BBC Persian, Atash and Nika’s uncle Moshen were later arrested by Iranian security forces and made false statements, citing sources close to family members. They asked her not to contact her again because of the problem, and while her family was looking for answers, those who were with her that day are still grieving at her death. “The situation was very scary and everyone thought about escaping,” said Dina. He said, “I cannot forgive Nika’s death. She was a child.”

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