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Iran's Ministry of Education Has Criminal Responsibility: Lawyers Comment on Shinabad Incident

By Kaveh Ghoreishi, Rooz Online

Iranian news agencies reported that on Friday December 28th Saria Rasoolzadeh, another victim of the fire at a girls school died of burn wounds, following the earlier death of schoolgirl Siran Yeganeh. In early December, a fire broke out at the school in Shinabad village near the Kurdish-populated city of Piranshahr in western Iran, causing severe burns to some 40 ten-year-old students.

Justice attorneys who have been following the fire in the village of Shinabad have said that according to laws that protect children, the ministry of education now has criminal responsibility because of creating "dangerous" conditions in children's schooling environment, in addition to the government's "discriminatory" practices.

Osman Mazin, a justice department attorney and someone who has been following this event and the condition of its victims closely told Rooz that the death of the second victim has raised alarms among parents that other children who have been injured in the fire may also die.

Saleh Nikbakht, another prominent human rights attorney wrote in a piece in Tehran's Arman newspaper, "If a person or persons are injured because of a government action, equality among citizens is negated and since only a group has been hurt by the government action, it is held liable and must provide compensation to the victims."

Cartoon: "If we gain nuclear Technology" ... "we will make school heaters nuclear."
(source: Mardomak)

It Was Getting Better, But ...

Rasool Khazri, the Majlis representative from Piranshahr and Sardasht made the announcement of the latest death and added that the school girl died because of "severe burns of skin and the loss of her body's resistance against actions to cleanse her wounds." He also announced that five students would be transferred to the city of Mashhad for medical treatment, in addition to the 13 school children who had been to hospitals in the city of Tabriz earlier, whose condition he said was "satisfactory."

Saria Rasoolzadeh's father told Etemad newspaper, "My daughter was getting better when she suddenly went into a comma." He did not elaborate on the details of his daughter's condition before her death but Jalal Moradi, the father of Sima Moradi - another victim of the same fire who was Saria's roommate at the hospital, said, "While Saria was never released from the ICU of the hospital her physicians had said, "... her health was improving."

According to Mr. Moradi, Saria went into a coma on Wednesday when she had been scheduled to have surgery on her face which postponed the procedure until she had recovered from her coma. She came out of coma two days later, on Friday and was again scheduled for the face surgery, but she did not make it.

One of the victims of the fire who is being treated at a hospital

Human rights attorney Osman Mazin said, the passing of 10-year old Saria has created anxiety among other families who have their children under medical treatment because of the Shinabad fire. Hamid-Reza Hajibabai, the minister of education, issued a condolence statement to Saria's surviving family members and called the event, "heartbreaking for the Iranian nation."

An oil heater in the classroom of a girls school in Shinabad village in the town of Piranshahr had started a fire on December 6 causing severe burns to 37 school girls two of whom have died.

Iranians across the board responded to the event sympathizing with the victims' families and the minister of education made a trip to the school. The head of Iran's government Mahmoud Ahmadinejad however has remained silent on the tragedy, causing some criticism even in the principlist media that support his administration.

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