Man’s family learns of his death one month after Iran protests

Sohrab Aarabi's family gave this photo of him to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
An Iranian family learned of their 19-year-old son’s death nearly a month after he was shot during a demonstration over the Islamic republic’s disputed election results, an international human rights group said Sunday.

Sohrab Aarabi was apparently shot dead June 15 during one of the bloody protests that followed the June 12 presidential elections, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. At least 20 protesters were killed in the chaos and more than 1,000 were arrested in Tehran in the first few days after the election, but it was not clear whether Aarabi’s death was counted among those. The group says Aarabi’s mother, Parvin Fahimi, made repeated attempts to get details about her son after he disappeared. The Revolutionary Court summoned the family on Saturday — 26 days after he was killed — to notify them of his death, which the coroner had recorded on June 19. Iranian government officials could not immediately be reached for comment. The human rights group is calling for an independent investigation into Aarabi’s death and also into why it took so long for the family to be notified. “Many families fear they will also be told their loved ones were killed in the demonstrations, and will be left to wonder if it is the truth, ” said Hadi Ghaemi, a spokesman for the human rights group. “Indeed, the families of the disappeared are suffering from a form of torture because of the absence of credible information.” Iran’s clerical leadership has declared hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner of the election. His chief rival in the race, reformist Mir Hossein Moussavi, has pledged to establish a new political party aimed at reining in the power of the Islamic Republic’s leadership. A post on Moussavi’s Facebook page Sunday announced a ceremony to honor Aarabi on Monday morning at Beheshteh Zahra, Tehran’s largest cemetery.