Iranian Authorities Prevent Burial Of Exiled RFE/RL Iranian Journalist By Abducting Body

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

Iranian security agents have abducted the body of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Reza Haghighatnejad, preventing his funeral after his death last week from cancer.

Haghighatnejad, 45, died on October 17 at the Charite Hospital in Berlin and his body was repatriated to Iran for burial on October 25.

However, sources told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, where Haghighatnejad worked since 2019, that agents from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) intercepted the body and have taken it to an unknown location.

Relatives and friends told Radio Farda that the necessary permits had been issued to bury his body in his hometown, the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.

Radio Farda also obtained information indicating that Haghighatnejad’s family is being pressured by the government to agree to his body being buried in another cemetery outside of his hometown.

Iranian authorities have not commented on the situation.

Haghighatnejad was a prominent analyst and political commentator with Persian-language media inside and outside of Iran. His death came as unrest rocks the country over the death of a young woman while in police custody for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly.

Daily protests have spread across the country -- including the south where much of the country's oil industry is located -- with thousands arrested and human rights groups reporting more than 200 deaths, including more than two dozen children.

Haghighatnejad started working as a journalist at the beginning of the 2000s and worked at local media outlets in Iran until 2012.

He left Iran amid increased pressure on journalists and started working with Persian-language media outside the country. He was not able return to Iran because of his journalistic activities.

Haghighatnejad worked as an editor at Radio Farda from 2019 until his death.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda