Strikes and protests erupted in Abdanan yesterday after the seventh-day ceremony of Bamshad Soleimankhani, a 21-year-old student from the city who died under suspicious circumstances in Ilam Hospital on 24 May.

Shopkeepers and businesses in the city of Abdanan went on strike in protest at the student’s unexplained death.

There were also mass protests in various parts of the city throughout the evening and into the night.

More than 20 civilians were injured by tear gas and shotgun pellets fired by riot police.

Abdanan has been militarized since yesterday, with strict security measures in place.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) has learned that security agents have been present at the city’s medical centres, recording the identities of injured civilians.

There has also been a slowdown in internet access in the city since the start of the protests.

Yesterday, Omran Ali Mohammadi, the head of the Ilam provincial court, spoke to Iranian state media and said: “Bamshad Soleimankhani, a 21-year-old from Abdanan who lived in Dehloran, committed suicide by taking pills out of personal motivation and finally died in Razi Hospital in Ilam, the provincial capital”.

However, the student’s father said in an interview with the Tabnak news agency that the allegations that his son committed suicide were invalid because the doctors’ claims that the cause of death was suicide were based on the painkillers his son was taking.

“As I have already said before, my son had no psychological, moral, familial, educational or financial problems to get out of by killing himself”, said the father.

The father also said that one of the orthopaedic doctors had told him that the main reason for his son’s unstable condition was “a broken collarbone, a broken rib and its penetration into the lung, followed by a lack of oxygen to the brain”.

He added: “Of course, I am also very critical of the court. Why are they playing with the dignity of the deceased and of our family for no reason at all? Which test result confirmed [the likelihood of] suicide for them? How could they declare the cause of death as suicide before they had the autopsy results and a medical report? How can they allow themselves to express an opinion contrary to reality when even I say that my son’s death was not unrelated to medical malpractice, given the variety of causes of death associated with a range of heart, lung and brain problems, and even fracture?”

In the interview, Soleimankhani’s father said that his son had not been arrested for taking part in the protests, but confirmed that his son had posted on Instagram expressing his support for the protests.

“Last autumn, he also posted occasionally, but not enough to be considered dissenting. [They were] critical posts that everyone was writing”, said the father.