Pooya Bakhtiari was shot in the head and killed by security forces during Iran’s protests, November 16, 2019
Iran’s authorities have arrested the family of a slain protester, after they spoke with international media about the killing of their son by security forces.
The semi-official Mehr News Agency said the family of Pouya Bakhtiari were held “to protect order and the security of the people who have incurred damage and loss”.
The report did not specify how many members of the family are held.
Bahktiari, 27, was an industrial engineer who was about to emigrate to Canada. He was shot in the head on November 16, the second day of the demonstrations sparked by the sudden Government announcement of a 50% to 200% rise in petrol prices.
On Tuesday, a relative told London-based Iran International TV that security forces have arrested Bakhtiari’s parents and detained his grandmother, grandfather, and an 11-year-old cousin.
Amnesty International has reported confirmation of the killing of at least 304 protesters, many of them shot at close range and some while running away. Iranian officials have told Reuters that the death toll is 1,500, including demonstrators, members of the security forces, and bystanders.
Families have been told by Iranian authorities not to speak to the media. But Bahktiari’s relatives took their story to US-based activist Masih Aiinejad and to Radio Farda, a US Government-backed site.
Bakhtiari’s parents were summoned on Saturday to the Intelligence Ministry and told they must not hold a public vigil for the 40th day of his death, instead limiting any commemoration to a small gathering in a mosque.
Bakhtiari’s father said he had not accepted the Ministry’s demand.
An Iranian official told Mehr that “enemies of the Iranian nation who have failed in their economic terrorism and tightening of sanctions” are using “the families of a few victims” to regenerate protests.