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US demands answers surrounding death of Iranian activist

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Summary of story from CNN, June 1, 2011

The US state department called on the government of Iran this week to investigate the death of a  human rights activist, allegedly after security forces got into a confrontation with mourners at her father’s funeral.

Women’s rights advocate and opposition activist, Haleh Sahabi was arrested in 2009 during Iran’s post-election crackdown and given a two-year jail sentence.

She was allowed out of  prison to attend the funeral of her father, Iranian dissident Ezatollah Sahabi.

The opposition website Kaleme said security forces tried to interfere with the carrying of the body, confronting Sahabi and other mourners.

She was clutching a photo of her father to her chest and fell when the security forces tried to take it from her. She was pushed to the ground and died of cardiac arrest. She was in her mid-50s.

“Both Haleh and her father suffered in life for their political activism including imprisonment,” deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

“We call on the Iranian government to investigate the circumstances of her death. If reports are accurate that government security forces contributed to her death, this would demonstrate a deplorable disregard for human dignity and respect on the part of the Iranian authorities.”

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