The daughter of a prominent veteran Iranian dissident has died after reportedly scuffling with security forces at his funeral.
she was holding a picture of her father to her chest and fell when security forces tried to take it from her.
Haleh Sahabi, 54, also an opposition activist and women’s rights campaigner, had been allowed out of prison to attend the funeral of her father, Ezatollah Sahabi, on Wednesday. She fell to the ground in the scuffle and died of a cardiac arrest, according to the opposition website Kaleme.
The semi-official Fars news agency confirmed Sahabi’s death but denied there had been a clash with police and accused the opposition movement of seeking to politicise the incident.
“Fars reporters present at the funeral service said there was no clash between the mourners and security forces,” it said.
Alireza Janeh, head of security matters at the Tehran governor’s office, said there were no clashes and that Sahabi had died of heart problems exacerbated by stress and hot weather at his funeral.
Sahabi’s death is likely to anger women’s rights campaigners and supporters of Iran‘s opposition movement, whose massive street protests after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009 were crushed by the government and whose leaders have been put under house arrest.
Sahabi was arrested during the post-election crackdown and was given a two-year jail sentence.
“Security forces tried to interfere in the carrying of the body, she objected and security forces confronted her and other people present,” Kaleme said, adding that Sahabi was pushed to the ground. Another opposition site, Sahamnews, said security forces punched her in the stomach.
Kaleme said she was holding a picture of her father to her chest and fell when security forces tried to take it from her. “She fell and did not get up,” it said.