Human rights groups report Iranians gathered Friday to mourn a man reportedly shot and killed by security forces after honking his car’s horn in celebration, following the Iran national team’s loss and elimination from the 2022 World Cup tournament.
The Oslo-based advocacy group Human Rights in Iran posted video on its Twitter account showing hundreds of mourners gathered Friday to remember 27-year-old Mehran Samak, in the northwestern city of Bandar Anzali.
The French news agency AFP also featured videos posted to social media of the same gathering.
While several reports say Samak was buried Wednesday, mourners continued to gather and protest his death Thursday and Friday.
Both Human Rights in Iran and the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, said Samak was reportedly killed late Tuesday in Bandar Anzali by security forces while honking his car’s horn as part of celebrations in cities across the country.
Iran’s loss to the United States in the World Cup tournament reportedly received a mixed response from Iranians. Many had refused to support the national team, seeing it as representative of the government, which has cracked down hard on more than two months of protests sparked by the death in police custody of a young woman, Mahsa Amini.
Iranian national soccer player Saeid Ezatolahi posted an image of himself and Samak together as children and described the slain man as a “childhood teammate.”
Multiple reports on social media say Samak’s brother, Mehrshad Samak, took the body of his brother from the hospital by force and drove away with it to prevent security officials from seizing the body.
While the story has not been unconfirmed by VOA or other media sources, the U.N. human rights office has reported many cases in which the bodies of people killed or missing following weeks of ongoing protests in Iran have never been returned to the families.
The nationwide protests began in response to the September 16 death while in police custody of 22-year-old Iranian Mahsa Amini, whom Iran’s morality police had arrested days earlier for allegedly not covering her hair fully enough with a hijab.
Iran’s Islamist rulers long have demanded that women cover their hair in public in accordance with strict Islamic dress codes.
Protests triggered by Amini’s death quickly evolved into a broader call by many Iranians for freedom and regime change.
Some information for this report was provided by the French New agency, AFP.