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30th Sep 2022

TikToker Hadis Najafi, 23, killed in Iran protests

Steve Hopkins

Protests have been raging in Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini in custody on September 16

A 23-year-old TikToker has been shot dead after taking to the streets in join protests against Iran’s strict hijab mandate following the death of Mahsa Amini.

Iranian women have been burning their headscarves with the unrest engulfing the country since Amini’s death on September 16. The 22-year-old died after being taken into custody by the Iranian government three days earlier for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly.

Amini is said to have died of a heart attack, however, she had no history of heart disease according to her uncle and eyewitnesses have claimed she was beaten while inside a police van.

Earlier this week the death toll was said to stand at 76, the BBC reported.

Hadis Najafi is said to be one of the victims.

She joined protests last week, and was shot dead a short time later.

On her way to protest against Iran’s hijab-wearing mandate, Hadis sent a video to friends where she spoke out about her hopes for everything “changing” in the future.

She was killed less than an hour later. One of the TikToker’s friends – who does not wish to be named due to safety concerns – told Sky News Hadis was “shot many times by the Iranian police”.

Part of Iran’s Generation Z, Hadis was a young woman who grew up in the age of the internet and social media, a stark contrast to that of her parents, the broadcaster noted.

An avid user of TikTok and Instagram, Hadis enjoyed sharing her life with her followers, but was not said to be openly outspoken about women’s liberation.

Like most teens, she did, however, post videos on her TikTok account dancing to the latest viral trend, including to pop music and Iranian singers. The restaurant cashier also shared fashion pictures on her Instagram, styling her hair both with and without her hijab – but only in the safety of her home or other private places.

Hadis’ friend believes she was shot “because of her hijab and defending the hijab and women’s right to freedom in veiling”.

The friend also alleged authorities “didn’t let her family see her”.

“Several nurses […] told her family to run, because Hadis had been at the protests so they might also be targeted if the police came.

“The husband of one of Hadis’ sisters works for the Basij [an Iranian paramilitary volunteer militia], so they let him go into the mortuary to do the formal identification. Only him.”

According to Hadis’ friend, the TikToker’s “crying mother and sisters” were allowed to see her face on Friday morning, but only to “make sure they were burying the right person.”

According to reports, her mother has said: “My daughter was killed because of the hijab, because of Mahsa Amini.

“She went to protest and was killed, hit by bullets, in her heart, in her stomach, in her neck. When we looked at her body, her face and body were bruised,” Hadis’ mother said via the TikToker’s sister’s Instagram.

Hadis’ mother also claimed authorities “shouted slurs” at them, and “refused to tell [them] where to find her body” or “give [them] her body”.

Hadis wasn’t allowed a public – or “real” as her friend put it – funeral because of an agreement between the authorities and her family.

Her friend said: “After she was buried, her sisters Afsoon and Shirin decided to publish her photos and tell people she was shot.

“The authorities didn’t want people to say she was shot, they were told to say she’d died in a car crash, or a brain injury, that she’d died a natural death.”


Despite the accusations against Iranian authorities, Ebrahim Raisi, the president of the Middle Eastern country, has said an investigation will take place into Hadis’ death.

However, the Iranian president warned that action will be taken against anyone who threatens the country’s public security.

The TikToker’s friend concluded: “I and her family and friends would like everyone to hear the name of Hadis and know that my friend went bravely and became a martyr.”

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