Iran denies security forces killed 16-year-old

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Iranian authorities have denied reports that security forces killed a 16-year-old girl during protests ignited by the death of a woman in police custody.

Iranian media reported on Friday, saying she committed suicide by falling off a roof.

Social media reports and rights group Amnesty International said that Sarina Esmaeilzadeh was killed by security forces when she was struck with batons on the head during protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in morality police custody.

Authorities earlier this week gave a similar cause of death as falling off a roof for 17-year-old Nika Shakarami, who activists say was killed in Tehran while demonstrating over Amini’s death.

Rights groups say more than 150 people have been killed, hundreds have been injured and thousands arrested in a crackdown on nationwide protests marking the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leadership in years.

Women have played a prominent role, waving and burning headscarves.

High school girls have also taken part.

The Chief Justice of Alborz province where Esmaeilzadeh died said a preliminary investigation showed her death was caused by suicide from a fall from the roof of a five-storey building, the semi-official ISNA news agency said.

Chief Justice Hossein Fazeli Herikandi said claims in opposition media about her death were “lies’’. `

`Based on her mother’s account, Esmaeilzadeh had a history of suicide attempts,’’ he said.

Police received a report of her death on Sept. 24, he said. (NAN)

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