OCTOBER 30, 2022
New Delhi: The ongoing anti-Hijab in parts of Iran has entered its seventh week. With hundreds of people losing lives in the demonstration across the country, a 19-year-old celebrity, Mehrshad Shahidi lost his life on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, in police custody, reportedly beaten to death with batons at the IRGC Intelligence’s detention centre, according to the local media.
Shahidi, a celebrity chef, also known as Iran’s Jamie Oliver, had 25,000 followers on Instagram and posted videos of himself cooking. He died a day before his 20th birthday, as per the reports.
According to his family, Shahidi was killed after receiving blows to his skull and told the media, “our son lost his life as a result of receiving baton blows to his head after his arrest, but we have been under pressure by the regime to say that he has died of a heart attack.”
Meanwhile, the Iranian authorities have dismissed the claims of killing the chef under custody and said that the cause of his death shall be announced later. On Friday, Chief Justice of the province, Abdolmehdi Mousavi, said that “there are no signs of fractures in the arms, legs, skull, or any brain injury.”
Deputy Governor of the province, Behnam Nazari, meanwhile, is quoted as saying that “the rumors are being spread by anti-Iran media, but no bullets have been shot at Mehrshad Shahidi.”
Protests for Shahidi’s burial have erupted, with thousands rallying on Saturday. Security personnel allegedly used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, who chanted, “Everyone who is killed will be supported by thousands more.”
An Iranian political expert, Dr. Reza Taghizadeh, claimed that the killing was triggering a “second and even stronger wave of national protests against the regime in the same manner Mahsa Amini’s death did a month earlier.”
Riots erupted across Iran in response to Mahsa Amini’s heinous death, which occurred after she was beaten to death by the IRGC for failing to wear the country’s strict hijab requirements. The first photos of Mahsa Amini were released by Niloofar Hamedi triggering protests in Tehran which then spread to other countries with at least 234 protesters, including 29 children, killed by security forces in crackdowns.