Haleh Sahabi

Iranian security forces fired shots in the air to disperse people protesting the death of Iranian activist Haleh Sahabi, witnesses told AFP.

According to AFP, the protesters had tried to gather in silence outside Tehran’s Hosseini Ershad mosque, a traditional site for reformists, but forces used batons and aerial shots to break up the assembly. The report says about 15 people were arrested at the scene.

Several opposition websites and a Facebook group had rallied people to demonstrate in front of the mosque to protest Sahabi’s sudden death at the funeral of her father, veteran politician and leader of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition Ezzatollah Sahabi.

Haleh Sahabi, a prominent activist in her own right, died in a scuffle when government forces overran her father’s funeral last Wednesday. Haleh Sahabi’s remains were taken from the family and given a speedy burial in Lavasan Cemetery that same night.

The government maintains that Haleh Sahabi died from a heart attack brought on by the stress of her loss and the heat; however, several relatives and witnesses at the scene maintain that her death was caused by the beating she received from security forces at the funeral.

The Nationalist-Religious Coalition has called on the government to investigate the death of Haleh Sahabi and prosecute its perpetrators.