Iranian Mahsa Amini dies after being arrested for hijab law

A 22-year-old Iranian woman has died after being arrested for allegedly flouting strict hijab rules – prompting protests against the Islamic Republic’s morality police.

Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested in Tehran on Tuesday while traveling with her family from western Kurdistan province to visit relatives, according to the BBC.

Witnesses accused police of hitting Amini in a van as she was being led to a detention center. The young woman died in a hospital on Friday after three days in a coma.

Authorities had accused Amini of violating the law requiring women to cover their hair with a headscarf and their arms and legs to wear loose clothing.

Her death sparked widespread demonstrations in Tehran and Kurdistan province, where she lived in Saqez, the news agency reported.

Mahsa Amini in the hospital
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in Iran’s Kasra Hospital after being arrested by morality police.
© Social Media via ZUMA Press Wire

Amnesty International said Amini was stopped in an “arbitrary arrest”, the Guardian reported.

On Monday, protesters threw stones at security forces in the city of Divandarreh in the Kurdish region, according to footage posted by Kurdish rights group Hengaw on Twitter, Reuters reported. The news agency could not verify the authenticity of the video.

Persian hashtag #MahsaAmini reached nearly 2 million Twitter mentions amid the backlash.

Mahsa Amini
Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran on Tuesday while traveling with her family.
IranWire via REUTERS

Police described Amini’s death as an “unfortunate incident,” according to Reuters, citing a semi-official news outlet.

On Monday, police denied allegations of ill-treatment against the woman and said she fell ill while waiting with other women who were being held by morality police.

Greater Tehran Police Commander Hossein Rahimi has denied “cowardly accusations”, insisting Amini suffered no physical harm and saying police “did everything” to keep her alive.

A newspaper with a cover photo by Mahsa Amini
A newspaper with a cover photo by Mahsa Amini.
Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

“This incident was unfortunate for us and we never wish to witness such incidents,” Rahimi said in a statement to Fars News Agency.

Police released video showing a woman identified as Amini entering a room and sitting with other people. It fast forwards to show her talking to someone who is standing up inspecting her clothes

The woman then raises her hands to her head and collapses, the video allegedly shows.

the front page of the Iranian newspaper Etemad reporting on the funeral of Mahsa Amini
Mahsa Amini was arrested on September 13.
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Rahimi said medical personnel arrived within a minute and he could not comment on the cause of death as it was a medical issue.

Amini’s father told the pro-reform Emtedad news agency on Sunday that his daughter had no health problems.

Masoud Barzani, former president of Iraq’s Kurdish region, has offered his condolences to Amini’s family, according to Reuters.

Mahsa Amini in the hospital
Witnesses accused police of beating Mahsa Amini in a van as she was being led to a detention center.
© Social Media via ZUMA Press Wire

Meanwhile, the Iranian protest Twitter account posted a video showing a protest at a Tehran university against the paramilitary militia known as the Basij.

“I will kill the one who killed my sister… With cannons, tanks or firecrackers, clergymen are lost,” protesters chanted.

The vice squad enforces strict dress codes for women that have been imposed since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Iranian Mahsa Amini dies after being arrested for hijab law


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