The devastated family of a six-year-old girl, who was raped and stabbed to death before her killer attempted to destroy her body with acid, have demanded justice after the brutal case went unreported. Setayesh Ghoreishi had been missing since 10 April, when police believe she was kidnapped by a 17-year-old neighbour in Varamin, near Tehran, Iranian media said.
However, Setayesh's family, who fled their native Afghanistan for Iran 16 years ago, said the horrific case had hardly received any coverage from Iranian state media, telling IranWire: "If the victim had been an Iranian and the murderer had been an Afghan, would the media have remained indifferent to it?"
The second youngest of five children, Setayesh had left home at 1pm on Sunday 10 April, but never came back. Her 17-year-old neighbour responsible for her murder later confessed his crime to police after putting the little girl's body in a bathtub and pouring acid over her.
A day after her disappearance, Setayesh's family had covered their neighbourhood in posters with pictures of their daughter, begging for information on her whereabouts, but a phone call from police came later in the day, telling the family a body had been found, which they identified as their daughter.
Since then, the family said they have received support from all over the country, but little media attention has been paid to the brutal murder of a child – they believe because they are from Afghanistan and not Iranian.
On the Facebook page titled "I am Setayesh", which has also been used as a hashtag on several social media sites to draw attention to the allegedly under-reported crime, the group's owner wrote: "There is no logic in the government censorship in Iran and the censorship of social media.
"This deadly silence against crime against a child will reflect on all the free mottos and freedom and culture."
The family also messaged the organisation UNICEF, stating: "Six-year-old Afghan girl Setayesh Ghoreishi stabbed to death and dipped into acid after being sexually abused by an Iranian youth in Varamin city of Iran.
"The incident took place a few days ago but all Iranian media outlets have refused to cover the incident.
"We ask the UNICEF and other international organisations to follow up the case."
Now, the family hopes to see justice for the little girl they can never bring home in the courts, trusting the case will be given as much attention as it would have if their daughter was not the child of immigrants from Afghanistan.