Iranian authorities arrest Austrian citizen as 15-year-old girl dies after raid

Anti-government protests continue following death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini

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Austria said on Thursday that Iran has arrested one of its citizens while an Iranian teachers union confirmed that a teenaged girl was killed during a raid by security forces.

Iranian security forces arrested 14 foreigners “in recent riots” across the country, officials said on Wednesday, as the government blamed “thugs” linked to “foreign enemies” for nationwide protests.

Those arrested include Afghan, American, British, Austrian and French citizens, according to the state news agency Fars.

Details of when or where the arrests of the foreigners took place were not disclosed.

Anti-government protests have rocked the country following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16 while she was in police custody.

The Austrian foreign ministry said the arrest of one of its citizens was not connected to the demonstrations.

“The Iranian authorities have confirmed the arrest of an Austrian citizen. We urge the authorities in Tehran to clarify the circumstances behind his arrest,” the ministry said in a statement.

“According to the Iranian authorities he is accused of a crime unrelated to the demonstrations that have taken place continuously since the death of Mahsa Amini,” the ministry said, adding that it would provide consular assistance to the person, who it did not name.

Teenage girl dies

Iran protests, one month on and counting

Iran protests, one month on and counting

The arrests came as a teacher's union in Iran said on Thursday that a 15-year-old Iranian girl died last week after being beaten during a raid by the security forces at her school.

They called on authorities to stop killing “innocent” protesters.

Asra Panahi died on October 13, after “plainclothes officers attacked” Shahed High School in the north-western city of Ardabil, the Co-ordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates alleged.

The pupils had been taken into town for an “ideological event” at a spot known to be a centre for protests.

The union said that some of the pupils, who started “chanting slogans against discrimination and inequality”, were “subjected to violence".

They were beaten again after returning to school, the union said.

“After that one of the pupils named Asra Panahi unfortunately passed away in hospital and a number of students were arrested,” it said, adding that the beating left another pupil in a coma.

State television later aired an interview with her uncle in which he said she died of heart failure.

The development follows the rejection by lawyers for Ms Amini’s family of an official Iranian medical report that found her death was not caused by beatings.

“The lawyers rejected the forensic doctor’s report in their statement of defence,” one of the lawyers acting for the parents, Saleh Nikbakht, told Etemad newspaper.

Her parents called for “the re-examination of the cause of death by another commission in the presence of [other] doctors”.

“Without clarifying the investigation process and the role of the person or persons involved in the arrest and transfer of Mahsa to the morality police headquarters, it is not possible to defend the rights of the parents, and … to resolve the ambiguities about the cause of death,” Mr Nikbakht said.

A coalition of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, said on Monday that the security forces' crackdown on the Amini protests had killed at least 23 children.

Teenage boy Abolfazl Adinezadeh shot to death at point-blank range

Security forces killed a teenage boy with a shotgun at point-blank range in Mashhad, the BBC has reported.

Abolfazl Adinezadeh, 17, joined anti-government protests instead of going to school on October 8, but never returned home, the report said.

Authorities have not commented on the incident.

His death certificate was obtained by the BBC. It said he died from liver and kidney damage caused by birdshot.

A doctor said the rifle was fired from less than a metre away, the report said.

"What crime had he committed, that you sprayed his stomach with 24 birdshot?" Abolfazl's father said at his funeral, a video showed.

It was not until the day after the protests that the education ministry called his parents and told them to pick him up from the local police station.

When they got there, they were told he was dead, the report said.

Updated: October 20, 2022, 2:38 PM