A 15-year-old student in Iran has died after being beaten by security forces, according to an Iranian teachers' union. Asra Panahi died on October 13 after "plainclothes officials" "attacked" the Shahed Gymnasium in the northwestern city of Ardabil, the Coordinating Council of Teachers' Unions said in a statement released Monday.
Ardabil is considered the center of the protests triggered by the death of the young Kurd Mahsa Amini in mid-September. The 22-year-old died in Tehran on September 16 after being arrested there three days earlier by the vice squad on charges of not wearing her headscarf in accordance with regulations.
According to the teachers' union, the students in Ardabil had been taken to an "ideological event". According to the union, some of them chanted "slogans against discrimination and inequality" and were "exposed to violence and insults by women in civilian clothes and veiled women". After returning to school, they were beaten again. Asra Panahi then died in the hospital, and another student was in a coma after the beating, the union said.
State television later aired an interview with the girl's uncle, in which he said his niece died of heart failure. The Didban Iran website quoted Ardabil MP Kasem Mousavi in a report as saying the 15-year-old had "committed suicide by swallowing pills".
The Iranian ex-soccer star and former Hertha BSC player Ali Daei, also from Ardabil, who had gotten into trouble with the authorities for supporting the protests, reacted with outrage. He wrote on Instagram that he did not believe Panahi died of heart failure and dismissed claims that she had taken her own life as "rumours".
In response to Daei's Instagram post, which has tens of millions of followers, the Misan Online Judicial Authority website dismissed his version of events as "fake news."