A prominent former Iranian national team soccer player and coach called out authorities for their “silence” following the death of a man celebrating Iran’s defeat against the United States earlier this week.
Mohammad Ahmadzadeh, who played for Iran from 1988 to 1990 and later coached the Malavan F.C. soccer club, asks in a video shared online: “Is it a crime punishable by death, to honk your horn or to be happy?”
According to Norway-based rights group Iran Human Rights (IHR), Mehran Samak, 27, was shot in the head by security personnel when he was out celebrating in Bandar Anzali on Tuesday night.
IHR said they confirmed the information through “several independent sources.” CNN cannot independently verify, as Iran’s government is not allowing foreign media into the country, and has not been transparent in its reporting on protests and protest casualties.
In a video seen by pro-reform news outlet IranWire and shared on social media Saturday, Ahmadzadeh directly called on local Bandar Anzali members of parliament, reformist Ahmad Donyamali and city authorities to be held accountable.
“Hello to all my fellow people of Anzali who are bereaved because we have lost yet another youth, Mehran Samak,” Ahmadzadeh says in the video. “We’ve lost this dear one and all the people of Anzali are bereaved.”
“I don’t know what their crime was. I want to ask the authorities of the city — ‘What was their crime? Is it a crime, punishable by death, to honk your horn or to be happy for whatever reason?’ I want to ask Mr. Donyamali, who considers himself a representative of this city — ‘Why are you silent? Aren’t you a rep of this city? What reaction have you shown to the events so far?’”
Some context: Tuesday’s loss to the US sparked public celebrations by anti-government protesters who have been demonstrating in the streets of Iran for several months.
The protests have been met with a deadly clampdown from authorities.
The nationwide uprising was first ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who died in mid-September after being detained by the country’s morality police. Since then, protesters across Iran have coalesced around a range of grievances with the regime.