Iranian woman in coma after morality police arrest: activists


A young Iranian woman is in a coma and fighting for her life after being arrested in Tehran by the Islamic Republic’s vice squad, activists said on Thursday.

The woman, named Mahsa Amini, 22, was visiting the Iranian capital with her family when she was detained by the special police unit that enforces strict dress codes for women, including the mandatory headscarf.

Her brother Kiaresh told the Iran Wire news website that while he waited outside the police station for her release, an ambulance drove out and took her to the hospital.

He was told that she had suffered a heart attack and stroke and was now in a coma.

“There was only two hours between her arrest and her transfer to the hospital,” he said.

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Swearing he would file a criminal complaint, he added: “I have nothing to lose. I won’t let this end without making a noise.”

A statement from Tehran police confirmed that she had been detained for “explanation and instruction” about the dress code, along with other women.

“She suddenly developed a heart problem while in the company of other escorted people (and) … was immediately taken to the hospital with the cooperation of the police and emergency services.”

It is not yet clear what happened between her arrival at the police station and her departure to the hospital.

– ‘Sickening’ –

The social media channel 1500tasvir, which describes rights violations by the Iranian police, posted a photo of her in the hospital with a tube in her mouth and said she was in a coma.

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“Sick,” wrote Iranian-British actress and campaigner Nazanin Boniadi on Twitter. “How many innocent young lives have to be brutally robbed before we all stand up?”

“The situation of Mahsa Amini is an example of a deliberate crime,” Iranian freedom of expression campaigner Hossein Ronaghi wrote on social media.

“The systematic oppression of Iranian women under the pretext of enforcing the hijab by the escort patrol and the police is a crime.”

The incident comes as controversy grows – both inside and outside Iran – over the behavior of the gasht-e erhad (escort patrol) who monitor and enforce dress codes in Iran.

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The Islamic hijab has been mandatory for women in Iran since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the Shah.

Some women, encouraged by US-based campaigner Masih Alinejad, have tried to protest the rule by removing their headscarves in public.

In mid-July, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared in mid-July after getting involved in a dispute on a bus in Tehran with another woman who accused her of taking off her headscarf.

She was detained by the Revolutionary Guards and appeared on TV in what activists say was a forced confession.

She was released on bail in late August after about a month and a half behind bars.


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