A 16-year-old Iranian girl who fell into a coma after being assaulted by Iranian morality police for not wearing a headscarf has been declared brain dead, state-aligned media reports according to Newshub. Armita Geravand was beaten at a Tehran metro station in early October just weeks after Iran passed legislation imposing harsher punishments for women who breach Iran’s strict hijab rules.
The incident came a year after a similar incident in September 2022, when mass protests erupted after the murder of a woman at the hands of the morality police in Iran who was wearing a loose hijab, according to the United States Institute of Peace. 473 people died during the protests due to from force from morality police, which are Islamic religious police who enforce religious guidelines and dress codes for women, according to Time. reports that these deaths caused the U.S. and EU. set sanctions on Iran in October of that year.
Protests have again broken out, much like in 2022, reports . Witnesses say that Armita was beaten, whereas Iranian officials report that she fainted because of other health problems. There is no footage of what occurred inside the train. Video footage shows Armita stepping into the car, then being dragged out unconscious minutes later. According to NBC News, Iranian officials are claiming she had a drop in blood pressure, causing her to faint. It is shown in footage that she was not wearing any head covering.
Many organizations, including an Iranian Kurdish group based in Norway, claim that Armita was assaulted, yet according to some classmates, it is suggested that she simply fell and hit her head. The footage outside the train car, although showing no foul play, may be edited and therefore cannot be verified. UN officials and rights groups previously have accused Iranian government authorities of pressuring victim’s families to speak in favor of the government, according to CNN.
The Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) has reported that Iran is not the only country with morality police, with several countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia also having forces. Iran, as well as Saudi Arabia, have dedicated thousands of officers for the purpose of “busting so-called un-Islamic activities,” CFR adds. Other countries, although they don’t officially have morality police, have police units strictly with the purpose of enforcing Islamic moral codes along with secular laws.
“Girls are subjected to violence on the streets, and then their families are compelled to protect the government responsible for that violence,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director ofThe Center for Human Rights in Iran, based in New York. The organization has been vocal about this injustice.
The incident has also sparked governmental outrage in the United States. Abram Paley, the deputy special envoy for Iran, took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to write that the U.S. is “shocked and concerned” by the reports. Paley followed this up by condemning the arrest of a journalist in Iran, mentioning that the U.S. is following news of her condition and calling the arrest of the journalist an “affront to journalistic freedoms.” Details about Armita’s recovery have yet to be officially released.
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