Iranians on social media are furious after a young woman arrested by Iran’s morality police for provisions on compulsory hijab died while in custody at a hospital in Tehran.
Mahsa Amini, 22, from the city of Saqqez in Kurdistan province was visiting the capital Tehran with her family when the Islamic Republic’s morality police, stops them. Amini is then taken into one of the vans of the morality police, who are known to regularly and violently arrest women in Iran for their attire choices.
The police has not released footage of what happened to Amini inside the van. Morality police units composed of both male and female officers, are known to be notoriously violent to those in custody inside and outside the “morality patrol vans”.
After being arrested, Amini is taken to a morality police station where she collapses. It takes the police two hours to take her to Kasra hospital in Tehran, after which she is in a coma for four days before being pronounced dead. According to the doctors and hospital staff, Amini suffered a heart attack and a stroke while in custody.
Ameneh Sadat Zabihpoor, a state media journalist, has published a video of showing CCTV footage from the Vozara morality police station in which Mahsa Amini is shown passing out. The footage is not time-stamped and does not include footage of the events that occurred prior to the collapse at the police station.
Four family members have talked to Zamaneh journalist Farzad Seifikaran and confirmed that Mahsa had no prior health conditions and was a healthy 22-year-old.
Kiarash (Ashkan) Amini, Mahsa’s brother, told Zamaneh that he was with her at the time of the arrest. When the officers took Mahsa into the patrol van, there was a verbal altercation between her brother and the officers. Kiarash was told that his sister would be taken to a detention center for an educational class on morality provisions.
An eyewitness, who was a fellow detainee in the same police van as Mahsa told Zamaneh:
“On the way [to the detention center], a fierce altercation took place between the detainees and the officers, and Mrs. Amini and I were among those who protested our detention.”
This eyewitness added:
“During these alterations, officers tried to silence us with physical force and Ms. Amini was beaten, but she was conscious when we arrived at the detention center, although she was physically very disoriented.”
The official police statement states that Mahsa Amini suffered from a “heart condition”. “A woman was directed to one of the Greater Tehran police departments for explanation and training when she suddenly suffered from cardiac arrest in the company of other people being directed”, the police statement said.
The family insists that Mahsa did not have a heart condition.
The news of Mahsa’s death has made Iranians furious on social media channels. Social media users are protesting Mahsa’s death and expressing anger against the restrictive policies against women in the Islamic Republic.
According to reports published on social media, protest gatherings have formed around Kasra Hospital. The state has sent its anti-riot forces to the hospital and surrounding areas.
Mahsa Amini’s relatives have announced that her body was taken to the forensic medicine unit in Kahrizak, Tehran immediately after her death. They are demanding the release of her body for burial in her hometown of Saqqez.