The grief of the killing of Sarina Esmailzadeh is still fresh in the hearts of many as the news of the death of another Sarina, this time in Kurdistan, arrives. This Sarina too, was killed as a result of blows to the head by Iran’s security forces – and once again, the same scenario is set up for her: her father is placed in front of the camera, forced to say that his daughter committed suicide.
Sarina Saedi, a 15 year old teenager from the marginalised area of Naisar in Sanandaj, is another victim of the nationwide protests against the government murder of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini.
In a conversation with Zamaneh, Fereydoon Nosrati, Sarina’s maternal uncle, shares details about her killing, emphasising that the family has since been under immense pressure and that they have been threatened by security forces to remain silent about Sarina’s death. This has led Fereydoon to turn to other reliable sources to gather information about Sarina’s death.
Fereydoon Nosrati tells us about the threats made against Sarina’s family:
There was a great deal of pressure on Sarina’s family and they were seriously intimidated by the threats. I also couldn’t speak to them until 2 days after Sarina was killed. I started picking up pieces from here and there.
Wednesday, October 26th was the 40th day since the death of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini, after which massive protests broke out in different cities including Sanandaj. On this same Wednesday, Sarina Saedi, amongst the protests in Naisar, is struck to death with the batons of the security forces:
On Wednesday evening in Sanandaj and Naisar, where Sarina’s family lives, like in many other cities, protests began. Evidently, Sarina went to participate in the protests. When she returns home, her family notices something is off and she appears confused and her clothes are dusty. They ask her what happened and she replies nothing and says that she had tripped on her way home, making her clothes dusty. But when the family notices that she seems unusual, they ask to take her to the doctor or the hospital but she does not agree.
According to Fereydoon Nosrati, Sarina fell asleep quickly that night. Sarina’s parents separated when she was about four years old and she lived at her maternal grandmother’s house. The next morning, Sarina’s grandmother goes to one of her daughter’s houses and does not wake Sarina so that she could rest:
At around 2:30-3:00 in the afternoon, her grandmother returns home, but sees that Sarina is still asleep. She calls her name but she doesn’t respond. That’s when she realises that she has passed away. She then calls her daughters and Sarina’s father, everyone is shocked at what happened and at first, the family thinks that Sarina might have committed suicide, but for what reason, they do not know…
Sarina’s family immediately took her to Tohid hospital in Sanandaj, where they were told that she had suffered blows to the head by a baton:
When they examined her body, they discovered that she was black and bruised from being beaten. At the hospital, they apparently inform the security forces, who as soon as they arrive, confiscate Sarina and her father’s phone, which they still haven’t returned. They also took the phone numbers of the family members present and told them that they would be listening to them and that if they spoke to anyone about the matter, they would be arrested. They intimidated them so much that for a few days, no one answered their phone out of fear.
According to the death certificate obtained by Zamaneh, which was issued on October 31st, the cause of death is recorded as “unknown”, while reports by state television IRIB have made claims make Sarina’s death appear as a suicide as a result of the use of psychoactive medicine and narcotic drugs.
Fereydoon Nosrati claims that they kept the family at the hospital until 2 o’clock in the morning on Friday, October 28th. At around 2:30 in the morning, Sarina’s body was transferred to the Behesht Mohammadi cemetery in an ambulance escorted by two security force vehicles, where she was then buried. Only 6 or 7 of Sarina’s family members were present at her burial.
Fereydoon Nosrati further adds:
On Friday, October 28th, a small and quiet funeral ceremony was held at Sarina’s father’s house in Naisar, but the family decided to hold another funeral ceremony in their village, Gerger-e Olya. The security forces called them and told them to end the ceremony immediately.
While Sarina’s family was told that she had suffered internal bleeding due to blows to the head from a baton at Tohid hospital, Hashem Saedi, Sarina’s father, was forced to confess in front of an IRIB camera that night. According to Fereydoon Nosrati, the security agents forced Sarina’s father into the interview in exchange for her corpse.
The interview aired of Sarina’s father shows him with his head down, making no eye contact with the camera as he responds to the reporter and says, “My daughter had problems with her mother’s family and her grandfather and grandmother had told her to never come to their home again. It’s likely that’s why she [committed suicide]. The doctors said she ate something and got poisoned..”
In the same IRIB report, a person introduced as “a staff member at Sarina’s school”, responds to a question about Sarina’s “history of suicide” and claims, “Perhaps she had a history of suicide last year.”
In an interview aired the same night, the governor of Sanandaj, Hassan Asgari announces that preliminary investigations show “the cause of Sarina’s death as the result of an accident or suicide using psychoactive medicine and narcotic drugs.”
The forensic report has not yet officially announced the cause of Sarina’s death to her family, but authorities and state media have tried to make her death appear as a suicide with claims of psychoactive medicine and narcotic drug use. A false and familiar scenario in state coverage of the deaths of Sarina Esmailzadeh and Nika Shakarami, who too were killed by being beaten by security forces’ batons.
Sarina Saedi was born on October 11, 2007. Only 19 days had passed since her 15th birthday when she was killed.
On Monday, October 31st, Sarina’s 7th day ceremony was held at Beheste Mohammadi cemetery in Sanandaj, where many attended to commemorate her. In a video sent to Zamaneh from the ceremony, the voices of Sarina’s mother and father can be heard saying, “My child, I will sacrifice myself for you.”
There are still no official or accurate statistics of the number of people killed or arrested during the protests that have emerged since the government murder of Zhina Mahsa Amini.