The repression of protests over the death of a young woman arrested for wearing the veil wrong in Iran causes five deaths | International


The protests over the death at a Moral Police station in Tehran of Mahsa Amini do not subside, four days after the death of this young 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was arrested last Tuesday by the Moral Police in the capital of the country for wearing the Islamic veil incorrectly and showing part of her hair. The human rights organization Hengaw accused the police on Twitter on Monday night of having killed five protesters by opening fire on the crowd at two protest marches in the young woman’s hometown, Saqez, and in two other towns, Divandarreh and Dehgolan, all in Iranian Kurdistan. Hours earlier, the police had defined Amini’s death as “an unfortunate incident” and reiterated that she died of a heart attack, a version in which the family does not believe.

According to data from the human rights group, Iranian security forces also detained at least 250 people in various locations in the Kurdish region, located about 500 kilometers west of Tehran. Another 75 people, according to the same source, were injured as a result of the repression of the demonstrations. The organization posted images on its Twitter account of the funeral of one of the protesters allegedly killed by the Iranian police.

Iranian authorities have not confirmed these deaths. The IRNA news agency did report “limited” protests in several cities in seven provinces that were dispersed by police. State television assured, for its part, that several protesters had been detained, but rejected “some claims of deaths on social networks” showing images of two injured young people about whose death there had been rumors. The street protests have gone hand in hand with a more intense mobilization on social networks. The Twitter hashtag #MahsaAmini has already reached almost 2 million mentions on Twitter, according to the Reuters agency.

Another Iranian news agency, the official Fars -close to the Republican Guard- reported, for its part, another demonstration, this time in Tehran, broken up with batons and tear gas by the police. Some 300 protesters, according to Efe, gathered on Keshavarz Boulevard, in the center of the capital, and chanted slogans against the Iranian leaders. Many women removed their veils, a conduct punishable by Iranian law. According to Fars, the protesters threw stones at the police and burned containers. Several local journalists later shared videos on social media that allegedly depicted violent clashes between protesters and police. In some of these recordings shots are heard. According to these videos, there were also protests in other areas of Tehran, with slogans such as “death to the oppressor”, “optional veil” and “enough is enough”.

The Iranian police had tried that same day to appease the anger of a part of the population for the death of the young Kurdish woman, by defining her death as “an unfortunate incident”, but without changing her version, which attributes the death to a heart attack. of Amini. The family denies this version and maintains that the young woman was in very good health and that she had no illness prior to her arrest, last Tuesday, the same day she was taken to a Moral Police station, supposedly to receive “ a reeducation class” after being intercepted in the street for wearing the veil in such a way that part of her hair was visible. She left there in an ambulance, in a coma and entered a hospital in the Iranian capital “without vital signs”, according to a statement from the hospital.

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The Moral Police has released images from security cameras supposedly from the moment the woman entered the police station, according to the semi-official IRNA agency, in which a young woman with a complexion similar to Amini’s is seen. Another video shows a woman collapsing while talking to an agent. With these images, this police force tries to silence the accusations on social networks that Amini suffered a beating while she was at the police station that could have killed her. The young woman’s family has not confirmed that the woman who appears in these videos is her close friend.

In Iran, young women, especially in urban areas, tend to wear the Islamic veil somewhat loosely, so that some strands of their hair stick out of the garment, a widespread custom, but one that violates the strict dress code of the Iranian authorities. .

According to the Iranian interpretation of the sharia or Islamic law, women are required to fully cover their hair and wear long, loose clothing. Offenders face public reprimands, fines and arrests, but in recent years women’s rights activists have urged Iranian women to remove their veils, with scores of young women posting images and videos on social media such as Facebook bare head or dancing in the street, another act punishable by law.

The death of Mahsa Amini has already provoked the first international condemnations. The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has called on Iran to end the “systematic persecution of women”, alluding to the death of the young Kurdish woman. “Mahsa Amini should be alive. Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her death. We ask the Government of Iran to end its systematic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protests, ”he said in a message on his account on the social network Twitter.

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