A 16-year-old boy was reportedly shot by a sniper while praying in a mosque during a crackdown on protests in Iran.
Mohammad Iqbal Naibzahi was reportedly killed in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan Province in south-eastern Iran, during what has been called ‘Black Friday’, on 30th September.
His brother, Ehsan Naibzahi, has now told Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of the US-government-funded Radio Free Europe, that Mohammad was shot in the heart while holding a prayer mat in his hand in the Makki Zahedan mosque.
This was while Iranian security forces were cracking down on people protesting the death of Mahsa Amini.
The Baluch Activists Campaign has estimated the number of dead at over 96 during ‘Black Friday’.
Ehsan Naibzahi said that after hearing of his brother’s death, he went to Khatam-ul-Anbiya hospital in Zahedan and saw a huge crowd of Baloch people, with between 400 and 500 wounded.
He reportedly said that there was blood as far as the eye could see.
He told Radio Farda: “We were wandering and crying looking for our family member, hoping that our family member was either among the wounded or that he got out of the battle and made it home safely.
“In the mortuary of the hospital, I saw one of the martyrs there, Shahed Matin Qanbarzahi, who was also 14 years old, and then we learned that the body of Mohammad Iqbal was in the musalla [prayer room] of the Makki mosque.”
Maulvi Abdul Hamid, an imam, reportedly said that the Iranian special forces shot at young people who had gathered in front of the police station.
But he added that they had also targeted those praying at Makki Mosque and had thrown tear gas at both men and women in the area.
Ehsan Naibzahi added: “We walked towards Makki Mosque, the city was extremely insecure. In front of us, they were shooting at the people and firing volleys.
“A child under the age of 15 was hit in front of us. This was the state of the city at that moment. It was terrible. We were also scared, we just wanted to see my brother.
“My father was with me. We went to Khayyam Street where Makki Mosque is located.
“War helicopters were searching and firing. I have not seen a scene like this in Hollywood movies. The Cobra war helicopter was shooting at the people. A lady was shot in front of my eyes between the intersection of Madani Street and Khayyam Street.”
Ehsan Naibzahi and his father reached the mosque, which people fled as the security forces fired tear gas inside it too.
They recovered Mohammad Iqbal’s body from the mosque. It then stayed in the family living room for 24 hours.
Ehsan Naibzahi explained: “We did not deliver it to the morgue. We said that he was martyred and there is no need for an autopsy and such things, we were grieving.”
It is understood that the Iranian security forces wanted to take the body for ‘autopsy’ but the family refused.
Radio Farda reported that it had so far established the identities of 12 teenagers under the age of 18 who were killed that day, with more expected to be identified later.
Mahsa Amini, 22, from Saqqez, Kurdistan Province, was on a visit to Tehran when she was arrested by morality police accused of violating hijab rules on 13th September.
She was allegedly beaten while in custody and spent the following days in a coma in the hospital before succumbing in the ICU on 16th September.
The clinic where she was treated said in a now-deleted social media post that she had been admitted brain-dead.
Alleged medical scans of her skull leaked by hackers showed that she had suffered bone fractures, haemorrhages, and brain oedema.
Anti-regime media are claiming that Mahsa’s medical records showing her history of heart disease were faked by the Iranian government.
The protests her death sparked are ongoing and, according to the non-profit Iran Human Rights, at least 201 people, including 28 children, have been killed so far, according to its latest figures released on 12th October.