News agency IANS, citing media reports, reported that women took to the streets to protest the death of a woman who was detained for violating the hijab law in Iran. Videos on social media show women burning their hijabs — as crowds cheer them on — and chasing away riot police in various cities across Iran.
Mahza Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman from the northwestern city of Saguez, died in hospital on Friday after being in a coma for three days.
She was with her brother in Tehran when she was arrested by the morality police, who accused her of violating the law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or veil, and their arms and legs with loose clothing. She fell into a coma shortly after collapsing in a detention center.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Nada al-Nashif said police hit Amini in the head with batons and smashed his head against one of their vehicles, the BBC reported.
In Sari city, women burned their hijabs on fire on Tuesday, the fifth day of unrest in the country.
Watch the video here:
— Alireza Nader عليرضا نادر (@AlirezaNader) September 20, 2022
In the city of Amol in Mazandaran province, protesters ran towards riot police and forced them back, in the sixth night of protests in Iran over the death of 22-year-old Mahza Amini after she was arrested by morality police for “improper hijab”.#Mahassa_Aminipic.twitter.com/A7YEOGHED8
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) September 21, 2022
Activists said three protesters were shot dead by security forces in Urmia, Branshahr and Kermanshah. Authorities accused protesters of killing two civilians in Kermanshah and a police assistant in Shiraz, a BBC report said.
At least seven people have now been reported killed since protests against the hijab laws and morality police erupted after Mahza Amini’s death.
As protests against Amin’s death continued, the police denied allegations of custodial torture and said she “suffered a sudden cardiac arrest”, contrary to her family’s claims that she was fit and healthy.
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“Mahza Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be investigated promptly, impartially and competently by an independent competent authority, which, in particular, ensures access to justice and truth for her family,” Nashif said.
He noted that the UN had received “numerous, and verified, videos of violence against women” as morality police expanded their street patrols in recent months to crack down on those deemed to be wearing “loose hijabs”, the BBC reported.
State media reported that one of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s aides visited Amini’s family on Monday and said “all institutions will take action to protect the violated rights.”