From the University of Bologna to death by torture in Iran: the story of Mehdi

From the University of Bologna to death by torture in Iran: the story of Mehdi
From the University of Bologna to death by torture in Iran: the story of Mehdi
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A young man in his early thirties, Mehdi Zare Ashkzari, died in Iran after twenty days in a coma following torture. In the past he had studied pharmacy in Bologna, where he had also worked in a pizzeria to support his studies. Two years ago he returned home. Riccardo Noury, spokesman for Amnesty International Italy, told Editoriale Domani.

He was tortured “so much, to the point that after 20 days in a coma he died,” sources in Iran told Noury. The young man was allegedly released after the beatings to prevent him from feeling ill while he was in his cell, but soon after he fell into a coma. According to the first testimonies collected, it seems that the boy was arrested for participating in the protests that have been taking place in the country since September after the killing of Mahsa Amini.

Mehdi “was one of us”, says Sanam Naderi, an Iranian who lives in Bologna. Speaking to Ansa, the woman explains how the young man’s death “also involves Bologna: he was well known, many students came to him, ate pizza where he worked. He was always smiling, a piece of gold”. Mehdi had enrolled in university and for a time had worked as a delivery boy, to support his studies, then as an assistant cook in a pizzeria. Two years ago he returned to Iran to be close to his mother who was ill, then the mother died, as told by another friend of his, Ali Jenaban: “He came here to pursue his dream, but he had to return and returned home he still worked in a pizzeria. The last time I heard from him he was happy, he said to me ‘with the family we go forward’. He too took part in the demonstrations for freedom, to find what we all want to have”. “We only heard the news of his death last night because the family members hadn’t said anything, so as not to have problems with the funeral, otherwise the regime won’t release the body”, says Sanam. Her story “means that the regime is close, the lives it takes are the lives of our friends”.

“Today the University of Bologna received horrible news. Mehdi Zare Ashkzari, who had studied pharmacy two years ago at Unibo, has just died after being in a coma for 20 days. After participating in the Iranian demonstration”, he underlines in a tweet Patrick Zaki, the Bolognese student who has been released from Egyptian prisons. “From Bologna we send a very strong thought to the family of Mehdi Zare Ashkzari, who was tortured and died in Iran after 20 days in a coma. To all that population that fights for that freedom of women and men in Iran. We send a big hug of brotherhood and sisterhood to the Iranian community that I see here”, said the deputy mayor of Bologna Emily Clancy, speaking on the stage in Piazza Nettuno, according to reports from BolognaToday.

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The article is in Italian

Tags: University Bologna death torture Iran story Mehdi

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