Nika Shakarami Cause Of Death , 16-Year-Old Iranian

Relatives of a girl who died during protests in Iran have been forced into making false statements, a source close to the family has told BBC Persian.

Nika Shakarami, 16, went missing in Tehran on 20 September after telling a friend she was being chased by police.

On Wednesday night, a state TV report showed her aunt, Atash, saying: “Nika was killed falling from a building.”

Her uncle was also seen on TV speaking against the unrest, as someone seems to whisper to him: “Say it, you scumbag!”

The source told BBC Persian that these were both “forced confessions” that came “after intense interrogations and being threatened that other family members would be killed”.

Atash and Nika’s uncle, Mohsen, were detained by authorities after Atash posted messages online about her niece’s death and spoke to the media. The televised statements were recorded before they were released, according to the source.

Atash told BBC Persian prior to her arrest on Sunday that the Revolutionary Guards had told her that Nika was in their custody for five days and then handed over to prison authorities.

The judiciary has said that on the night she disappeared Nika went into a building where eight construction workers were present, and that she was found dead in the yard outside the next morning.

Tehran judiciary official Mohammad Shahriari was cited by state media as saying on Wednesday that a post-mortem showed Nika suffered “multiple fractures… in the pelvis, head, upper and lower limbs, arms and legs, which indicate that the person was thrown from a height”.

He declared that this proved her death was nothing to do with the protests.

However, a death certificate issued by a cemetery in the capital, which was obtained by BBC Persian, states that she died after suffering “multiple injuries caused by blows with a hard object”.

Nika’s Instagram and Telegram accounts were also deleted after she went missing, according to Atash. Iranian security forces are known to demand that detainees give them access to the social media accounts so that the accounts or certain posts can be deleted.

Wednesday night’s state TV report also featured footage in which Atash was seen confirming that her niece’s body was found outside the building mentioned by the judiciary, even though that contradicted previous statements made by her and other members of the family.