French authorities are investigating as a suicide the drowning of an Iranian man in the southeastern city of Lyon who wrote on social media that he would take his own life to draw attention to Iran’s crackdown on protests.
Mohammad Moradi, 38, was found in the Rhône River, which flows through the center of Lyon, on Monday evening, a police source told AFP.
Emergency services attended but were unable to resuscitate him on the riverbank, the source added.
Moradi had posted a video on Instagram saying he was going to drown himself to highlight Iran’s crackdown on protesters following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after her arrest in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.
“If you see this video, I will die,” Moradi said in sharp but understandable French.
The prosecutor’s office in Lyon said it had opened an investigation to “verify the theory of suicide, in particular in view of the messages posted by the person concerned on social networks announcing his intention” to take his own life.
The incident shocked the city: on Tuesday, a small rally was held on the banks of the Rhone in memory of Moradi.
Mourners placed candles and wreaths at the railings on the river bank, reports an AFP correspondent.
“Mohammed Moradi killed himself so that the voice of the revolution would be heard in Iran. Our voice is not being reported by the Western media,” said Timothy Amini from the local Iranian community.
According to several members of the Iranian community, Moradi was a history student and worked in a restaurant. He lived in Lyon with his wife for three years.
“His heart was beating for Iran, he couldn’t stand the regime anymore,” Amini said.
Protests have gripped Iran for more than three months.
The Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Group (IHR) said on Tuesday that 476 demonstrators had been killed in the crackdown on protests, with at least 100 Iranians facing death for protesting, in addition to two young men who had already been executed. .
“The police are attacking people, we have lost many sons and daughters, we have to do something,” Moradi said in the video. “I decided to end my life by suicide on the Rhone River. It is a challenge to show that we Iranians are very tired of this situation,” he added.