An Iranian schoolgirl was reportedly beaten to death in the classroom by security forces for refusing to sing a pro-regime anthem to protest the death of Mahsa Amini.
16 year-old Asra Panahi died in the hospital on Friday Oct. 14 after sustaining fatal injuries from security forces that raided the Shahed Girls High School in Aradabil on Oct. 13, a teachers’ union said, according to Guardian.
The security forces allegedly demanded a group of girls sing an anthem praising Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
When the girls refused, the security forces reportedly beat them.
As a result, several pupils were taken to the hospital and other were arrested.
In response to the news, Iranian officials have denied responsibility for the act.
After Panahi’s death sparked national outrage, a man identifying as her uncle appeared on state TV channels claiming she had died from a heart condition, the Guardian reported.
Despite the reports, Panahi was a swimmer, having won bronze at various competitions and being named the top swimmer in the under-12 age group in the women’s swimming league of East Azarbaijan province in 2017.
Following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested by “morality” police for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly, unprecedented protests have broken out across the country against the mandatory hijab law.
Schoolgirls have become a leading force in these protests, waving their headscarves, tearing down portraits of the supreme leader and shouting slogans.
The protests are being met with a violent crackdown from police, with at least 185 people dead and thousands more injured and arrested as of Oct. 12.