A 16-year-old Iranian girl was sexually assaulted and then beaten to death in the back of a van after participating in anti-government protests in Tehran in 2022, the BBC reported Tuesday, citing a secret document with details of an internal probe into the case.

Nika Shakarami, whose body turned up nine days after she disappeared, did not die by killing herself in a jump from a building — as is claimed by authorities — but was killed by security forces while in detention, the report by BBC Eye Investigation found.

During her ordeal, the teenager was beaten by three members of the Iranian security forces using batons and was also shocked with three Taser guns, the report said.

The circumstances of her death were deliberately covered up by those involved, the outlet found, and though the identities of all those involved are listed in the document, only one is known to have received a reprimand.

Shakarami’s mother has long accused authorities of causing her daughter’s death.

Neither the Iranian government nor the Revolutionary Guard Corps, whose members were involved, responded to a BBC request for comment.

The fatal incident came amid anti-government protests that began in September 2022, sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly flouting the mandatory dress rules for women.

The BBC said it obtained a summary of a hearing on Shakarami’s case by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The document, marked “Highly Confidential,” included statements from the security forces members who detained Shakarami, beat her to death, and later dumped her body on a Tehran street.

The outlet said it spent months checking its authenticity and has “confidence that it is genuine. Though the BBC’s document had a few “inconsistencies,” a former Iranian intelligence officer helped authenticate its content.

The document is addressed to the IRGC’s commander-in-chief and says it is based on conversations with security officers who were involved in Shakarami’s detention and subsequent death.

At the protest, Shakarami was filmed standing on a dumpster during a demonstration and burning hijabs.

A security unit on the ground, identified by the report as Team 12, tried to arrest her but she managed to escape.

According to the document, Shakarami was eventually apprehended that night and put in the security team’s vehicle, described as “an unmarked freezer van.”

In the back with her were three Team 12 members – Arash Kalhor, Sadegh Monjazy, and Behrooz Sadeghy, the BBC said.

Team leader Morteza Jalil was in the front with a driver, apparently unable to see what was happening in the back.

The team tried to take Shakarami to a detention center but was turned away from two sites before being instructed by commanders to head to Evin Prison, a notorious site in Tehran.

The men in the back of the van gave conflicting and hazy accounts of what happened next amid what they described as the deep darkness of the enclosure. They said Shakarami struggled against her captors with one gagging her mouth with his socks while sitting on her chest.

Kalhor claimed he saw Monjazy put a hand inside Shakarami’s pants, an accusation the latter denied, though Monjazy did admit to becoming “aroused” as he wrestled with the girl, and said that he groped her buttocks.

In the darkness, blows rained down on the trapped teenager, and eventually Jalil, the leader, hearing the commotion, ordered the vehicle to stop while he went to check what was going on and found Shakarami dead.

According to the BBC, Jalil again contacted commanders and spoke with a more IRGC senior officer with the codename “Naeem 16.”

Naeem 16 told investigators that there had already been deaths at some of “our stations “and he didn’t want to make matters worse by bringing Shakarami in.

Instead, he instructed Jalil to “dump her on the street.”

The hearing document assessed that the fight in the back of the van was due to a sexual assault and that the blows from the team caused Shakarami’s death.

Shakarami’s mother has said when she eventually found her daughter’s body at a mortuary, it had head injuries. The death certificate, seen by BBC Persian in October 2022, said the teen died due to “multiple injuries caused by blows with a hard object.”

The former Iranian intelligence officer, using sources available to him, was also able to identify Naeem 16 as IRGC Captain Mohammad Zamani.

The BBC said the document listed each of the Team 12 personnel as members of “Hezbollah,” an Iranian paramilitary group that is unrelated to Iran’s proxy Lebanese terror group of the same name.

None of the team members are known to have been punished, the BBC said, other than the IRGC officer Naeem 16 who was given a reprimand.

The BBC said 551 protesters were killed by security during Iran’s anti-government Woman, Life, Freedom movement, citing a UN fact-finding mission.

The report came after last week activists said that Iran is again increasing its crackdown on dissidents and enforcing the obligatory wearing of hijabs.

Source » timesofisrael