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Khodanour Lajeie

Women, Life, Freedom

Name: Khodanour Lajeie
Father's Name: Unknown
Mother's Name: Unknown
City of Birth: Shirabad
State of Birth: Sistan and Baluchestan
Date of Birth: 1995-10-02
City of Death: Zahedan
State of Death: Sistan and Baluchestan
Date of Death: 2022-10-02

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Khodanur Lojei (Lujei) (October 2, 1995 – October 2, 2022) was an Iranian protester from Zahedan, who tragically lost his life the day after the harrowing events of “Black Friday” in Zahedan, amidst the nationwide uprising in Iran in 2022. Arrested by the military forces of the Islamic Republic, his death highlighted the severe crackdowns faced by demonstrators.

Personal Life and Background
Khodanur, a Sunni Baluch, lived in the impoverished outskirts of Zahedan in the Shirabad neighborhood, lacking official identification documents. A fiancé and a plasterer by trade, Khodanur was also an influencer with a significant following on Instagram, where his dance videos gained widespread attention posthumously. His life, marked by his ethnic and religious identity, was emblematic of the broader struggles of Baluch people in Iran.

Arrest and Death
In July 2022, following a dispute with a Basij member, Khodanur was detained and released a month later on bail. Despite allegations of his involvement in “16 cases of armed robbery” by Zahedan’s Prosecutor, an image of him handcuffed to a flagpole with a water bottle placed just out of reach sparked significant social media backlash and inspired various artistic responses. His family managed to move him to prison, securing his release after a month through bribes.

Government Narrative Versus Family’s Account
Contrary to the family’s account, the official narrative claimed Khodanur, also known as “Sadegh Kabdani,” was an Afghan national killed during a robbery attempt. This contrasted starkly with the family’s narrative, detailing how he was beaten, tied up, and publicly humiliated by law enforcement, only to be killed after being shot in the kidney during the protests on October 9, 2022. One of his sisters passed away from a heart attack following his death, underlining the profound impact of his loss on his family and community.

Legacy and Cultural Impact
Khodanur’s death and the cruel image of his detainment have resonated deeply within and beyond Iran, inspiring performances, art installations, and social media campaigns globally. His story is a poignant reminder of the human cost of the struggle for freedom and dignity in Iran, particularly among its ethnic minorities. His family’s fight for justice and his memory continue to inspire acts of resistance and solidarity, keeping his spirit alive in the hearts of many.

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