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Iranian Activist Haleh Sahabi Dies In Scuffle At Her Father's Funeral

06/01/11 Report by Radio Zamaneh

Haleh Sahabi, the daughter of Iranian dissident Ezzatollah Sahabi died from a heart attack after security forces descended upon her father’s funeral.

Ezzatollah and Haleh Sahabi

Mizan website, the news outlet associated with the Nationalist-religious Coalition wrote: “A security official tried to grab a photo of Mr. Sahabi that Haleh Sahabi was pressing against her chest. The force of his action and her resistance caused her to fall, and then she did not rise.”

Haleh Sahabi’s son, Yahya Shamekhi said: “When they brought the body of my grandfather, the officials refused to let the ceremony go on, and arguments ensued. They finally seized his corpse and took it away by force.”

An unidentified journalist told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: “Haleh Sahabi suffered a heart attack after the plainclothes forces swarmed the scene and took the body of her father. She died on her way to Lavasan hospital.”

The report added that both plainclothes and uniformed security forces were present at the funeral and some engaged in beatings.

A scene from funeral of Ezzatollah Sahabi (see more photos)

The head of Tehran Province Security Forces told ISNA, however, that Haleh Sahabi’s death was not related to the security forces, adding: “She suffered from heart problems, and this caused her death.”

“Her medical records are available,” Alireza Janeh added: “The death of her father as well as the heat led to her death.”

He denied the reports on various websites that security forces were involved in her death. He said: “Her family has been very cooperative with us, and we have also assisted them with the funeral.”

Ezzatollah Sahabi passed away on Tuesday at the age of 81 following a brain hemorrhage.

Body of Ezzatollah Sahabi wrapped in Iranian flag (see more photos)

By numerous accounts, the funeral of the National-religious Coalition leader was disrupted by security forces, in contradiction of Janeh’s statements. There are even unconfirmed reports of people being arrested.

The semi-official Mehr News Agency, however, reported that the funeral of Ezzatollah Sahabi “was held in absolute peace without one political slogan being uttered by the participants.”

“The presence of security forces was completely evident at the funeral,” Mehr added. “Only a few limited scuffles occurred, and three people were arrested in front of the deceased’s home.”

IRNA also reported the arrest of five people who allegedly had spoken “inappropriately” with and about the security officers present at the scene.

IRNA attributed Haleh Sahabi’s death to “high blood pressure and sugar” and “emotional excitement.”

However, Fereydoon Sahabi, the brother of Ezzatollah Sahabi, told the opposition website Jaras that the funeral was forcefully attacked by the security forces. He said Haleh Sahabi was beaten by the security officers, and that’s what led to her heart attack.

He added that 30 people were arrested at the funeral.

Haleh Sahabi by his father bed side Ezzatollah Sahabi 

Haleh Sahabi was arrested in the crackdown on post-election protesters in 2009. She was part of a demonstration in front of the Parliament building to challenge Ahmadinejad’s inauguration.

When her ailing father was in hospital, she was denied any visit.

Related Stories:

Farewell to the Fallen Haleh Sahabi - Today 1st of June 2011 , Haleh Sahabi's lifeless body was laid in her home to receive the last respects from her friends.

Iran: Daughter of Deceased Dissident Dies Following Attack During Father's Burial - Interference by security and plainclothes agents in the funeral of prominent Iranian political activist Ezatollah Sahabi, including beatings of mourners, led to the death of Sahabi's daughter Haleh, who suffered a fatal heart attack at the event today.

Ezzatollah Sahabi: 5 May 1930 - 31 May 2011 - Iranian opposition activist Ezatollah Sahabi, head of the reformist National-Religious Movement of Iran, died of stroke Tuesday in a Tehran hospital at the age of 81.

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