Members of the Basij Organization and Security Forces Suppressed Funeral for Art Student Killed in Protests
On 16 February 2011, members of the Basij Organization and Iranian security forces thwarted a funeral procession and memorial service university students in Tehran had planned to commemorate Sane Jaleh. Jaleh, a 26-year-old student of dramatic literature at Tehran Arts University, died from a bullet wound on 14 February after attending demonstrations. Pro-government forces have asserted that Jaleh was a government supporter and member of the Basij Organization, a claim that his friends vehemently deny.
Members of the semi-official militia Basij Organization overtook the ceremony, which had been planned by Jaleh’s classmates, and prevented the students from gathering together to honor the deceased art student.
A student present at the event told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the ceremony “was on the Arts University campus, next to Amir Kabir University, at the Vali-e Asr intersection. The funeral was filled with [pro-government] people… they were the Narmak Basij [from a neighborhood in East Tehran]. I hardly found our friends and attendees. Their people had covered the place, the campus, and even tried to make us look like one of them. There were too few of us, unfortunately.
“They had pushed about 40 to 50 of us into a corner,” the student continued. “They wouldn’t let us move. There were another 40 to 50 of us in another corner of the campus, and they were later taken into Farabi Amphitheater [inside the University].
“[The Basijis] were distributing Qurans. Then they owned the ceremony. They were saying that Sane was one of them, which he wasn’t. He was green.
“They led us into a corner of the campus, while half of the guys were kept inside Farabi Amphitheater. We were supposed to be in the funeral procession at 8:30. We were also going to hold our own memorial service for him between 12:00 and [2:00 p.m.]. Unfortunately, they didn’t let us move.
“In the end, [some authorities] said if you leave quietly and silently, and keep from irritating the Basij, you can evacuate without getting harmed. We evacuated at noon. They arrested a few of the guys. The police were outside, too. There were some confrontations, also.”
Other reports allege that security forces detained at least a dozen students from the Arts University. The Campaign was not able to confirm the names of these students.