Protests erupt in Iran after woman dies in custody of morality police

Protests erupt in Iran after woman dies in custody of morality police
People protest outside Tehran’s Amirkabir University of Technology following death of a woman in custody, in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022 in this still image taken from a video obtained by REUTERS.

In Iran last week, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being arrested. Stopped by authorities for having “unsuitable attire," Amini was taken to the station by Iran’s morality police for “re-education." In an interview, Amini’s brother said he was told she’d suffered a random heart attack or a stroke, falling into a coma. Now, she’s dead. Iranian police claim that her death was an “unfortunate incident" and denied that she was harmed in custody.

Now, Amini’s death has sparked international concern. On Monday, an aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei visited Amini’s family to offer condolences in an attempt at damage control. But yesterday, a UN official demanded an independent probe into the death of Amini.

And, all over Iran, demonstrations have erupted in opposition to authorities. These protests have turned violent, and security forces deployed tear gas on protesters after Amini’s funeral ceremony. Demonstrators have been burning headscarves and shouting slogans against the government. In the Kurdish region, three people were allegedly killed on Monday after forces opened fire, but Iran hasn’t yet confirmed any deaths.

Key comments:

Mahsa Amini
FILE PHOTO: An undated picture obtained from social media shows Mahsa Amini. IranWire/via REUTERS/File Photo

“The woman was sent to a Greater Tehran police precinct for guidance and education when suddenly, in the presence of other people, she had a heart attack," the Iranian police said.

“The incident was unfortunate for us and we wish to never witness such incidents," Greater Tehran Police Commander Hossein Rahimi said at a press briefing on Monday.

“There were only two hours between her arrest and being taken to hospital," Amini’s brother, Kiarash, told IranWire.

“There was no problem with my daughter’s manto," Amini’s father, Amjad, told the state-backed Tasnim news agency Tuesday, referring to a long coat Iranian women wear as part of the required dress code, adding, “and she was wearing hijab."

“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent, competent authority, that ensures, in particular, that her family has access to justice and truth," acting UN commissioner Nada Al-Nashif said.