Death toll rises in Iran as protests continue
The death toll in demonstrations held in Iran in protest over the death of Mahsa Amini in custody has risen to forty-one, Iran's state media said on Saturday.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that those who act against the country's security and peace will be countered.
Independent news outlet Iran Wire cited a former Iranian security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) intend to violently crush protests on the direct order of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The source said he had heard from an IRGC official that "Mr. Khamenei has decreed that they should have no mercy, and said that 'it makes no sense for women to burn hijab in the streets. This is moharebeh [unlawful warfare]."
As internet access continues to be disabled in Iran, the Website of Hengaw Organization for Human Rights -a major source of information on recent protests- was down early Saturday.
The group said on Twitter:
"Since today morning, Interserver company, which is responsible for the hosting support of Hengaw Human Rights Organization website, has avoided the support, and despite numerous correspondences, has stopped hosting our website for unknown reasons."
The group nevertheless continues to report on Twitter, particularly on the cases of individuals who are held in incommunicado detention.
Iran Wire, on the other hand, reports on protests across Iran with a focus on casualties resulting from the use of lethal force by the police.
In one of the deadly incidents, 20-year-old Hadis Najafi, who earlier became an online sensation following the posting of a video showing her tie back her hair, was reportedly killed by the police late Friday. She received six bullets to the abdomen, neck and heart, and died in Qaim Hospital, Karaj, Iran Wire said.
22-year-old Mahsa Amini became a symbol of defiance against oppression in Iran following her death in custody on 16 September, only a few days after she was arrested by the so-called "morality police" for allegedly failing to adhere to hijab (headscarf) rules. As authorities claim that she died from underlying health reasons, her family and many Iranians believe that she died as a result of the violence she was subjected to.