Iran: Young woman dies in hospital after being arrested by morality police
A young woman died in suspicious circumstances in an Iranian hospital on Friday, only a few days after she was arrested in the capital city of Tehran by the morality police, who enforces strict dress rules for women.
22-year-old Mahsa Amini was reported to be in a coma following her arrest, allegedly because of a heart attack and brain seizure she suffered while she was in custody.
Her brother Kiaresh was told that his sister was being taken for “re-education” and would be released later that night. When he tried to intervene he was tear-gassed and his arms twisted behind his back.
Kiaresh said to the Iran Wire news website that while he was waiting outside the police station for her to be released an ambulance drove out taking her to hospital.
"There were only two hours between her arrest and being taken to hospital," he said.
Vowing to file a criminal complaint he added: "I have nothing to lose. I will not let this end without making a noise."
Tehran police confirmed that she had been detained over dress rules, alongside other women.
While the incident sparked outrage on social media, Ali Karimi, a well-known former Iranian football player, posted a picture of Mahsa lying prone in hospital on his Instagram page on Thursday.
“The future of Iran is a woman,” he wrote. After news broke of Mahsa’s death the next day, he posted simply: “My country is orphaned.”
The Iranian actress Hanieh Tavassoli, who has recently faced pressure from the security agencies herself because she spoke out about sexual abuse in Iranian film industry, said: “I am appalled… A girl, 22 years young. Crime? Bad hijab. I’m so sorry, desperate and miserable, with all my heart.”
Fellow actress Leah Remini wrote on Twitter:
"Mahsa Amini, 22, is in a coma after being tortured by Iranian authorities. This would be unacceptable no matter what, but the fact that she was arrested for improper wearing of the hijab makes it even more horrifying."
On Friday afternoon a crowd began to gather outside the hospital where Mahsa died, and videos from the scene showed a heavy police presence and scuffles between officers and individual bystanders, Iran Wire said.
Members of the public have started gathering in protest outside the hospital where Mahsa Amini sadly passed away after being detained by morality police.— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) September 16, 2022
The video shows the main entrance to Tehran's Kasra Hospital this afternoon (35.739372,51.4147088)
Shayan Sardarizadeh, a journalist reporting for BBC World, posted a video allegedly showing the entrance to Tehran's Kasra Hospital where Mahsa Amini died, and said:
"Members of the public have started gathering in protest outside the hospital where Mahsa Amini sadly passed away after being detained by morality police."