Iranian Authorities Taking Bodies From Morgue Amid Crackdown: Reports

Authorities in Iran have been reportedly moving the bodies of people killed in protests that have raged in the Islamic republic for more than nine weeks.

In October, the UN Human Rights Office voiced concern about Iran's treatment of detained protesters and said that authorities were refusing to release some of the bodies of those killed.

Iran's authorities have often used the bodies of protesters as bargaining chips to silence the families of victims, the BBC reported.

BBC Persian reported that Kian Pirfalak, who has been described as being either 9 or 10, and 14-year-old Sepehr Maghsoudi, were shot dead by security personnel who fired live rounds in Izeh, on Wednesday.

State media said the incident in the southwestern city in which a total of seven people were killed was carried out by gunmen on motorbikes in a "terrorist attack."

Iran protest in Turkey
The photo shows part of the protests at the Iranian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 31, 2022. The unrest in Iran has raged for weeks following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini whose image is pictured. Omer Kuscu/Getty Images

But BBC Persian reporter Parham Ghobadi tweeted that security forces stole the body of Maghsoudi from the morgue after two hours, citing a source close to the family.

This seemed to mirror a case earlier this year in which Iranian security forces reportedly stole the body of 16-year-old Nika Shakarami, who had gone missing for 10 days after protesting in Tehran on September 20.

Her family found her body in a morgue at a detention center in the capital which they transferred for a burial in the western city of Khorramabad. But a family source told the BBC that security forces "stole" the body and buried it 25 miles away.

Meanwhile, journalist and analyst Omid Memarian tweeted that Pirfalak's family kept the boy's body at home in ice, "as they feared the authorities would steal his body from the city's morgue [and] bury it in an unknown place."

Videos shared on social media have seemed to show the widespread outrage at the death of Pirfalak with the Twitter account of 1500tasvir_en, which has been sharing footage of the uprising, tweeting a clip purportedly from the boy's burial service.

A video of the boy showing off a propeller boat he made for a festival and explaining how he wanted to become an inventor has also been widely shared on social media

At least 57 children are reportedly among hundreds killed since the protests were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on September 16. She had been arrested three days earlier by the country's morality police accused of improperly wearing her hijab, or headscarf.

Thursday saw the third day of a national strike commemorating the Bloody November uprising of 2019 in which hundreds were killed in a crackdown.

Protesters set on fire the ancestral home of the Islamic republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the western Markazi province on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Khomeini led the 1979 revolution and died in 1989 but remains the subject of adulation by the clerical leadership under successor Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Newsweek has contacted the Iranian Foreign Ministry for comment.