Iran: Teen dies weeks after alleged brush with morality police

Iran: Teen dies weeks after alleged brush with morality police
Iran: Teen dies weeks after alleged brush with morality police

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Armita Geravand, who was 16, allegedly had a confrontation with Iran’s notorious morality police. — DW pic

TEHRAN, Oct 19 — An Iranian teenage girl injured almost a month ago during a mysterious incident on Tehran’s Metro, while not wearing a headscarf has died, the official IRNA news agency reported yesterday.

Sixteen-year-old Armita Geravand, an ethnic Kurd, allegedly had an encounter with morality police officers over violating the country’s hijab law.

“Unfortunately, she [Geravand] went into a coma for some time after suffering from brain damage. She died a few minutes ago,” IRNA reported.

“According to the official theory of Armita Geravand’s doctors, after a sudden drop in blood pressure, she suffered a fall, a brain injury, followed by continuous convulsions, decreased cerebral oxygenation and a cerebral edema,” the state media report continued.

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What exactly happened to Armita Geravand?

The incident on October 1 involving Geravand remains in question.

She suffered her injury at the Meydan-E Shohada — or Martyrs’ Square — Metro station in southern Tehran and was hospitalized after falling unconscious.

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Her case was first reported on October 3 by the Kurdish-focused rights group Hengaw, which said she had been critically wounded during an incident on the subway.

Authorities say she suffered a sudden drop in blood pressure and denied that any “physical or verbal altercations” had taken place between her and other passengers.

Human rights groups question official account

But rights groups have said Geravand was critically wounded during an alleged assault by members of Iran’s morality police.

They have demanded an independent investigation by the United Nations fact-finding mission on Iran, citing the theocracy’s use of pressure on victims’ families and state TV’s history of airing hundreds of coerced confessions.

Geravand was pronounced brain-dead last week after she fell into a coma on October 1.

Her death comes shortly after the one-year anniversary of the death of Jinha Mahsa Amini, who was also allegedly injured while being arrested by the morality police.

Suspicions that Amini — also an ethnic Kurd — was beaten during her arrest sparked mass protests across the Islamic Republic at the end of last year.

Death could fuel fresh protests against hijab

Geravand’s death threatens to reignite that popular anger, particularly as women in Tehran and elsewhere still defy the mandatory headscarf, or hijab, law as a sign of their discontent with Iran’s theocracy.

For observant Muslim women, the head covering is a sign of piety before God and modesty in front of men outside their families.

Iran and neighbouring Taliban-ruled Afghanistan are the only countries where the hijab remains mandatory for women.

Iran recently put its morality police back on the street following Amini’s death.

Lawmakers are pushing to enforce even stricter penalties for those flouting the required head covering.

Geravand’s injury has sparked renewed international criticism of Iran’s treatment of women and of the mandatory hijab law. — DW

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