Mahsa Amini, 22, died last Friday in a Tehran police cell after she was arrested for not wearing the hijab and her trousers correctly, a tragic event that has sent shockwaves throughout Iran and resulted in outrage in the streets.
Amini was detained as she exited a metro station, subsequently suffering a heart attack and slipping into a coma whilst in custody, state-affiliated media reported. Her family insisted that she had no prior health issues. Activists suggested that the police may have beaten her.
The resultant demonstrations have called out the unaccountable and sometimes brutal treatment against women by the morality police. Women and men marched and chanted slogans against Iran’s leadership in cities and towns across the country for the fourth consecutive evening on Tuesday. Protests occurred despite the deaths of at least three people in the furore on Monday.
Local petitions have also been circulating, calling for the disbandment of the morality police, saying their actions enforcing the hijab are counterproductive and discriminatory.
The case has drawn global interest and has been condemned by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Office said Iran’s morality police had recently been expanding their patrols, targeting women for not correctly wearing the hijab. It said verified videos depicted women being slapped in the face, struck with batons and thrown into police vans for wearing their hijabs too loosely.
Nada Al-Nashif, the acting UN high commissioner for human rights, said that Amini’s heart-rending death and allegations of torture “must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority.”
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