Police in Iran call the woman’s death ‘unfortunate’ as protests continue

Police in Iran call the woman’s death ‘unfortunate’ as protests continue

Police in Iran call the woman’s death ‘unfortunate’ as protests continue

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  • Mahsa Amini was detained by the morality police last week
  • Protests erupt in areas including Tehran, the Kurdish province
  • The morality police enforce strict dress codes for women

DUBAI, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Iranian police said on Monday the death of a young woman in custody was an “unfortunate incident”, a semi-official news agency reported, denying allegations of abuse that led to a third day of protests against authorities .

Mahsa Amini, 22, fell into a coma and died after she was arrested in Tehran last week by morality police, sparking demonstrations in Tehran and the Kurdistan province she came from. read more

Her death has been condemned across the country, and the Persian hashtag #MahsaAmini has reached nearly 2 million mentions on Twitter. The most intense demonstrations have been in Iranian Kurdistan, where the authorities have previously quelled unrest among minority Kurds.

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On Monday, protesters threw stones at security forces in the town of Divandarreh in the Kurdish region, a video posted on Twitter by the Kurdish rights group Hengaw showed.

A widely followed Iranian Twitter account focusing on protests in Iran said shopkeepers had gone on strike in Kurdish towns.

Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the video.

Police have said Amini fell ill while waiting with other women held by the morality police, who enforce strict rules imposed since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution that require women to cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothing in public.

But her father told the pro-reform Emtedad news website on Sunday that his daughter had no health problems, adding that she had bruised her legs and that he held the police responsible for her death.

Greater Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi said that “cowardly accusations” had been made against Iranian police, that Amini suffered no physical harm, and that police had “done everything” to keep her alive.

“This incident was unfortunate for us and we never want to witness such incidents,” Rahimi said in the statement reported by the Fars news agency.

Police showed a video showing a woman identified as Amini entering a room and sitting down with others. Then fast forward to show her on her feet talking to someone inspecting a section of her clothing.

The woman then raised her hands to her head and collapsed.

Rahimi said paramedics arrived within a minute and that

he could not comment on the cause of death because this was a medical issue.

Violators of Iran’s sharia, or Islamic law, face public reprimands, fines or arrest. But activists have recently urged women to remove the veil despite hardline rulers’ crackdown on “immoral behaviour”. read more

An official organization that promotes Islamic morality called for reform of the way Iran implements rules on wearing the hijab, calling for less policing and more encouragement for women to follow the rules.


Protests erupted on Saturday during Amini’s funeral in his hometown of Saqez, with videos on social media showing protesters chanting against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and women removing headscarves. read more

Her death could heighten tensions between the establishment and a Kurdish minority of 8 to 10 million.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have fomented unrest in the country’s Kurdish areas for decades, and many Kurdish activists have been sentenced to long prison terms or death.

Videos shared on Twitter on Sunday showed protesters demonstrating in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province.

A video posted by Hengaw showed security forces in riot gear running down a street there, at least one of them firing what appeared to be a gun.

Masoud Barzani, former president of Iraq’s Kurdish region, sent condolences to Amini’s family on Sunday, his Facebook page said.

The widely followed Iranian protest Twitter account posted footage showing what it said was a protest at a Tehran university against the Basij, a paramilitary militia force.

“I want to kill the one who killed my sister … With cannon, tank or fireworks, clerics go astray,” chanted the protesters.

Reuters could not independently verify the videos.

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Reporting from the Dubai Newsroom; Written by Tom Perry, edited by Toby Chopra and Ed Osmond

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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