Mahsa Amini Iranian woman dies after hijab morality police arrest as demonstrations against strict dress code erupt. Police deny culpability.
‘An unfortunate incident.’ Those are the worlds Iran‘s Islamic Republic’s morality police allegedly uttered following the death of a 22 year old woman recently arrested for purportedly breaking the state’s strict hijab dress rules.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested in Tehran on Tuesday while traveling with her family from the western province of Kurdistan to visit relatives, the BBC reported.
Witnesses accused police of beating Amini inside a van as she was led to a detention center. The young woman died at a hospital Friday after three days in a coma. Authorities deny beating the arrested woman.
Authorities had accused Amini of breaking the law requiring women to cover their hair with a headscarf, and their arms and legs with loose clothing.
The young woman’s death has sparked widespread demonstrations both in Tehran and the Kurdistan province where Amini lived in Saqez. Attending protesters were met with tear gas, causing them to disperse DW reported.
This beautiful dancing woman #MahsaAmini got killed by hijab police in Iran because a little bit of her hair was visible.
She didn’t die but became a symbol of resistance against forced hijab & religion dictatorship. Her murder is a turning point for us women of Iran.#مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/Jud0bfSu48
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 19, 2022
See how Girls are mercilessly Beaten, assaulted & humiliated Publicly by Psychopath Radical Predators in Iran for not wearing #Hijab .Bloody Morality Police Monsters😡violently assault Girls enforcing Hijab Compulsion. These Extremist countries r living Hell 4 women#MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/UEVwnN97si
— Jyot Jeet (@activistjyot) September 18, 2022
Mahsa Amini Iranian woman death ignites nation
Amnesty International said Amini had been stopped in an ‘an arbitrary arrest,’ the Guardian reported.
On Monday, protesters threw rocks at security forces in the town of Divandarreh in the Kurdish region, footage posted on Twitter by Kurdish rights group Hengaw showed. The authenticity of the video had yet to be authenticated.
The Persian hashtag #MahsaAmini reached nearly 2 million Twitter mentions amid the backlash.
Police called Amini’s death an ‘unfortunate incident,’ according to Reuters, which cited a semi-official news agency.
On Monday, police denied accusations of mistreatment against the woman and said she fell ill as she waited with other women being held by the morality police.
Authorities said Amini was among a number of women taken to a police station for ‘instruction’ on the dress code.
Greater Tehran Police Commander Hossein Rahimi pushed back against what he described as ‘cowardly accusations,’ insisting that Amini suffered no physical harm and said police had ‘done everything’ to keep her alive.
— 🇮🇶Mohammed Hassan🇮🇷 (@MohHassanTweets) September 16, 2022
Cause of death remains undetermined
‘This incident was unfortunate for us and we wish to never witness such incidents,’ Rahimi said in a statement reported by the Fars news agency.
Police released a video showing a woman identified as Amini walking into a room and sitting down with other people. It fast-forwards to show her talking to someone who was inspecting her clothing as she stands.
Video purportedly shows woman raising her hands to her head before collapsing.
Rahimi said medical personnel arrived within a minute and that he could not comment on the cause of death because it involved a medical issue.
Amini’s father told the pro-reform Emtedad news outlet on Sunday that his daughter had no health problems.
Masoud Barzani, former president of Iraq’s Kurdish region, has sent condolences to Amini’s family, according to Reuters.
— Nimpel+2 (@Nimpel_2) September 19, 2022
Protests erupt nation wide
Police have since surmised that Amini died of a heart attack, while a relative said she had no history of heart disease.
Meanwhile, the Iranian protest Twitter account posted video showing what it said was a protest at a Tehran university against the paramilitary militia force known as Basij.
‘I will kill the one who killed my sister … By cannon, tank or firecracker, clerics get lost,’ protesters chanted.
Video at Saqez at Mahsa Amini’s funeral, showed women without their mandatory hijab protesting the measure along with morality police, chanting ‘down with the dictator’.
The morality police enforce strict dress rules for women imposed since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
Between 8 to 10 million Kurds live in Iran. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have put down unrest in the country’s Kurdish areas for decades, with the judiciary sentencing many activists to long jail terms or death.
Iran President Ebrahim Raisi has ordered an inquiry into Amini’s death, while the judiciary said it would form a special task force to investigate.
Since 2017, after dozens of women publicly took off their headscarves in a wave of protests, authorities have adopted tougher measures, with violators facing public rebuke, fines or arrest.
Political reformers have in turn urged Iran’s parliament to cancel the hijab law and do away with the morality police.