Iran: death of an Iranian woman after her arrest by the morality police

A young Iranian woman who was arrested on Wednesday September 14 in Tehran by the police responsible for ensuring the wearing of the veil died on Friday September 16, official television announced.

Mahsa Amini, 22, was visiting Tehran with her family when she was arrested on Wednesday by the special police unit responsible for enforcing strict dress rules for women, including the requirement to cover her hair with a scarf.

Tehran police said on Thursday that Mahsa Amini had been arrested along with other women to receive “instructionson the dress code. “She suddenly suffered from a heart problem (…) she was immediately taken to hospital“, she said. “Unfortunately, she died and her body was transferred to the forensic institute.“, State television said on Friday.

In a statement, Tehran police confirmed the death, saying “that there had been no physical contactbetween the police officers and the young woman. Tuesday, Mahsa Amini “as well as a number of people, due to wearing inappropriate clothing, were taken to one of the police headquarters” but “she suddenly passed out while she was with other people in a meeting room“.

State television broadcast for its part extracts from a video showing a room, visibly at the police station, where you can see many women. One of them, introduced as Mahsa Amini, gets up to chat with a “instructorabout her attire, then she breaks down. In another excerpt, the emergency service transports the woman’s body to an ambulance. Persian-language media, including the IranWire website and the Shargh Daily newspaper, reported statements from her family saying she was taken to hospital in a coma hours after her arrest and is now dead. .

Murder»

The circumstances leading to the suspicious death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, including allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, must be criminally investigated“Reacted Amnesty International. “The so-called vice police in Tehran arbitrarily arrested her three days before her death under the country’s abusive, discriminatory and degrading headscarf laws. All officers and officials responsible must be held accountableadded the organization.

Iranian lawyer Said Dehghan on Twitter described the death of the young woman as “murderclaiming that she had received a blow to the head which caused a fractured skull. The director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, based in New York, Hadi Ghaemi, described the death as a “tragedy that could have been avoided“. “The government in Iran is responsible. She was arrested under the state’s discriminatory headscarf law and died while in a state detention center“, he added.

The White House judgesunforgivablethe death of Mahsa Amini, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser said on Friday. “We will continue to hold Iranian leaders accountable for such human rights violations.“wrote Jake Sullivan on Twitter.

Controversy over the morality police

Before the announcement of the death, the Iranian presidency had indicated in a press release that President Ebrahim Raisi had instructed the Minister of the Interior to investigate this affair. The country’s judicial authority had also announced via its news agency Mizan Online the formation of a special group to open an investigation.

The incident comes as controversy swells over the conduct of the morality police who patrol the streets to verify the application of the headscarf law and other Islamic rules in public places.

Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the law requires that all women, regardless of their nationality or religious beliefs, wear a veil that covers the head and neck while concealing the hair. However, over the past two decades, more and more women in Tehran and other major cities are letting strands of hair, or even more, protrude from their veils.

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