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Death of Mahsa Amini

Mahsa Amini
مهسا امینی
Mahsa Amini.jpeg
Born1999/2000
Died (aged 22)
Cause of deathKilled by Guidance Patrol while arrested for dress code violation
Resting placeSaqqez, Iran
Other names
  • Jina Amini
  • Zhina Amini

On 16 September 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini (Persian: مهسا امینی), also known as Jina Amini or Zhina Amini, died in Tehran, Iran, under suspicious circumstances, potentially due to police brutality.

Amini was arrested by the Guidance Patrol, a vice squad of the Law Enforcement Command of Islamic Republic of Iran overseeing public implementation of hijab regulations, for non-compliance of her hijab with government standards. Police said she suddenly went into heart failure at a station, fell on the floor and died after two days in a coma. Eyewitnesses said she was beaten and her head hit the side of a police car, which in addition to her leaked medical scans, led others to diagnose cerebral hemmorhage and stroke.

Many people from all over the world reacted to Amini's death, which according to some news sources, became a symbol of violence against women under the Islamic Republic of Iran and sparked a series of protests across the country.

In response to the protests, the government of Iran blocked access to apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, and limited Internet accessibility, to reduce the protesters' ability to organize. These may be the most severe Internet restrictions in Iran since 2019 when the Internet was shut down completely.

Circumstances of death

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan Province, western Iran, who traveled to Tehran with her family, was arrested on 13 September, at the entry of Shahid Haghani Expressway by the regime's so-called "Guidance Patrol" while she was with her brother, Kiaresh Amini, and transferred to the "Moral Security" agency. He was told she would be taken to the detention center to undergo a "briefing class" and released in an hour. Instead, she was taken to Kasra Hospital by ambulance.

For two days, Amini was in a coma in Kasra Hospital in Tehran, which led to a protest against the Guidance Patrol and the law on hijabs. She died in the intensive care unit on 16 September.

Evidence of violence

Kasra Hospital was the place where Amini died.

The clinic where Amini was treated, released a statement on Instagram saying that she was brain dead when she was admitted. The Instagram post has since been deleted.

Amini's brother, Kiaresh, noticed bruises on her head and legs. The women who were detained with Amini said she was severely beaten for resisting the insults and curses of the officers who arrested her.

A number of doctors opined that Amini suffered a brain injury based on the clinical symptoms, including bleeding from the ears and bruises under the eyes. This was also confirmed by medical scans of her skull, leaked by hacktivists, showing bone fracture, hemorrhage, and brain edema.

Protests

On the streets

People's protest against Mahsa Amini's killing in Tehran's Keshavarz Blvd

On 17 September, a series of protests broke out over Amini's death, including in Saqqez, her hometown. Some shouted feminist slogans such as "woman, life, freedom", and "death to the dictator". Protests also took place outside the Kasra Hospital in Tehran, some of whom were arrested by the security forces, who also made use of pepper spray against them.

A spokesperson for Hengaw, a Kurdish human rights group, stated that “the security institutions forced the Amini family to hold the funeral without any ceremony to prevent tensions”. Kurdish civil society organisations were also reported to have called for a general strike in all of Kurdistan.

On 18 September, protests and marches spread day by day in different cities. The streets of Sanandaj on Sunday were partially closed and security forces were scattered throughout the city following a night of protests against the Islamic Republic of Iran's strict dress code.

On 19 September, five people were killed in Iran's Kurdish region on Monday when security forces opened fire during the protests, according to a Kurdish rights group said, on a third day of turmoil over an incident that has ignited nationwide anger. Two of the people were killed as security forces opened fire on protesters in the city of Saqqez, Amini's hometown, according to the Twitter account of the Hengaw Human Rights Organization. It said two more were killed in the town of Divandarreh "by direct fire" from security forces, and a fifth was killed in Dehgolan, also in the Kurdish region. Popular demonstrations spread to different cities of Iran, including Tehran, Rasht, Esfahan, Karaj, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Ilam and many other cities and the special police of the Iranian government dealt with these protests severely, as a result of which many were injured, and some political activists were arrested.

On 20 September, the protests continued and people marched in different cities such as Tehran, Sari, Tabriz, Mashhad, Qom, Kerman, Hamedan, Sanandaj and Kish and many other cities chanting slogans against the mandatory hijab and the principle of Islamic government. In Sari, women burned their hijabs on a bonfire to cheering crowds. Protestors in Toronto, Istanbul, London and some other European and American cities gathered and condemned the Islamic government's crimes against women in Iran. The government confirmed that three people were killed in the protests.

On 22 September, protesters in Tehran and other cities burned police stations and cars.

On social media

The arrest and beating of Mahsa Amini by the Guidance Patrol and her death has caused public anger on social networks. During this time, the #MahsaAmini hashtag became one of the most repeated hashtags on Persian Twitter. The number of tweets and retweets of these hashtags exceeded 10 million. Some Iranian women posted videos on social media of themselves cutting their hair in protest. It was reported on 21 September that the Iranian government has blocked internet access to Instagram and WhatsApp and disrupted internet service in Kurdistan and other parts of Iran in order to control the unrest.

Investigation

President Ebrahim Raisi asked Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi to "investigate the cause of the incident with urgency and special attention".

Reactions

Mahsa Amini's father, Amjad Amini, was interviewed by various international media about his daughter's tragic death and answered the claims of Iranian government officials. In a phone call with him, the president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, expressed his regret over Amini's death. The governor of Kurdistan Province personally went to Amjad Amini's house and consoled him about the death of his daughter. In an interview with BBC Persian, the father accused the Iranian authorities of lying about her death, and noted that every time he was asked how he thinks she died, his response was mysteriously cut from local news broadcasts. He stressed that the Iranian authorities refused to let him see his daughter at the clinic, and that when he finally saw her body before the funeral, it was completely wrapped except for the face and feet, which had mysterious bruises.

International institutions

  • Amnesty International requested a criminal investigation into the suspicious death. According to this organization, "all responsible officers and officials" in this case must be brought to justice and "the conditions leading to her suspicious death, which include torture and other ill-treatment in the detention center, must be investigated criminally."
  • Human Rights Watch called Amini's death "cruel" and wrote: "Iranian authorities should cancel the mandatory hijab law and remove or amend other laws that deprive women of their independence and rights."
    • Additional concerns were raised by the group at the apparent lethal force retaliation by government officials to the protests.
  • Center for Human Rights in Iran: Mahsa Amini considered as another victim of the Islamic Republic's war against women and requested that violence against women in Iran should be strongly condemned all over the world in order to prevent such preventable tragedies.
  • United Nations announced that the torture and murder of Mahsa Amini should independently be investigated.
  • Anonymous claimed to have disrupted several Iranian government and state-affiliated media websites in support of the protests and disbursed a video stating the groups support of the protests along with footage of the protests.

Politicians

  • Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporter, also expressed his regret for the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran and added: "This incident is a sign of widespread violation of human rights in Iran."
  • France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the torture that lead to the death of Mahsa Amini.
  • United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the killing in the custody of Iranian police forces and demanded an end to such actions by the Iranian government.
  • Iran's Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani said on 17 September that the Guidance Patrol is "not only an illegal and anti-Islamic body, but also illogical. No part of our country's laws assigns any mission or responsibility to this vigilante force," and accused it of committing "repression and immoral acts."
  • In a separate statement, another ayatollah, Mohaqeq Damad, echoed that sentiment: "The establishment of the force for promotion of virtues and prevention of vice is in fact meant to monitor the rulers' actions, not to crack down on the citizens' freedoms and is a deviation from Islamic teachings."
  • Chilean president Gabriel Boric, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, paid tribute to Mahsa Amini and called for an end to the abuse of power by the powerful around the world.
  • Several European Union officials have condemned her death. Josep Borell, the EU foreign policy chief called her death "unacceptable". A spokesperson issued a statement announcing that what happened to Mahsa Amini is unacceptable and the perpetrators of this killing must be held accountable.
  • US President Joe Biden in the annual speech of world leaders at the United Nations on 21 September 2022, referring to the situation of women in Iran and Mahsa Amini death vowed solidarity with Iranian women.
  • Robert Malley, the representative of the US in Iranian affairs, called the death of Mahsa Amini "horrific" and wrote: "Mahsa Amini’s death after injuries sustained in custody for an “improper” hijab is appalling. Our thoughts are with her family. Iran must end its violence against women for exercising their fundamental rights."

Celebrities

  • American actress Leah Remini wrote on Twitter: "Killing of Mahsa Amini is unacceptable under any circumstances, but the fact that she was arrested for wearing an inappropriate hijab makes it even more appalling."
  • Khaby Lame, an Italian influencer of Senegalese origin, wrote on his Instagram page, "The biggest war for women's rights and human rights is happening in Iran. If you live on earth and remain silent, you will never be able to speak about women's rights again."
  • Australian actor Nathaniel Buzolic, publishing a picture of Mahsa Amini on his Instagram, asked: "Where are the feminists?" Why is the world silent?
  • Turkish actress Nurgül Yeşilçay published a picture of Mahsa Amini in her Instagram story and wrote: "It's unfortunate... Alas for all the women in the world."
  • American supermodel Bella Hadid published a picture of Mahsa Amini and wrote on Instagram: “Just wow. Rest in peace, Mahsa Amini. You did not deserve this. Sending blessings to her family and loved ones.”
  • J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter novel series, published a post on Twitter and wrote "Then the rest of the world needs to keep saying her name. #MahsaAmini died aged 22 in police custody because she violated hijab regulations. Solidarity with all Iranians currently protesting."
  • Moroccan secular intellectual Ahmed Assid commented on the death of Mahsa Amini on his official Facebook page, and condemned the "barbaric regime which kills the daughters of Iran for a piece of clothing".
  • Kurdish singer Navid Zardi decided to dedicate the incomes of his next concert to Mahsa's family.

See also

This page was last updated at 2022-09-22 18:44 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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