Iranian police: “unfortunate”

brudMonday the demonstrations continued in Iran, after Mahsa Amini (22) died in custody of the Iranian morality police, known as Gasht-e Ershad. Police chief in Tehran Hossein Rahimi says the incident was “unfortunate” and that it should not be repeated, according to the BBC. Several Iranian media reports that Col Ahmed Mirzaei, who is the head of the Iranian morality police, has been suspended from his post.

Violation of hijab rules

Kurdish Amini was arrested when she visited Tehran with her family on Tuesday last week. Amnesty International calls the arrest an “accidental arrest”. The Iranian morality police arrested her for violating the country’s hijab rules, and took her to the police station. They reportedly told her family that she would be released after training.

BURNING HIJAB: Iranian Kurds burn hijabs during a demonstration in a park in the city of Sulaimaniya in Iraq on September 19, 2022. Photo: Shwan Mohammed / AFP / NTB

Amini was in a coma when she was taken to the hospital, and in the pictures from the hospital, she has discoloration around her ears that indicates physical blows. A CT scan of Amini’s head will show fractures, bleeding and brain edema, which is consistent with her having suffered a blow to the head, writes The Guardian. If the CT scan is confirmed, it will be a severe blow to Tehran’s police forces.

The police version

According to the police, Amini died either of a heart defect or of epilepsy.

On Monday, police chief Rahimi spoke to the press, stressing that claims that Mahsa Amini was beaten or ill-treated are “completely false”.

– Cowardly accusations are directed at the police, which we will refute until judgment day, says Rahimi according to the report Al Jazeera.

Last week, the state channels in Iran showed Amini in a “training center” where women are trained about wearing the hijab. In the video, Amini feels unwell, and is tried to be revived by paramedics.

POLICE: Iranian police drive past the protests in Tehran on September 19.  Photo: AFP / NTB

POLICE: Iranian police drive past the protests in Tehran on September 19. Photo: AFP / NTB

Amini’s family denies that the 22-year-old suffered from epilepsy or a heart defect. The police chief denies that the police have done anything wrong:

– There was no argument or resistance. No failure on the part of the police. All the words published in cyberspace about the cause of death are flat lies, says the police chief.

Violent protests

Information is being shared online that the morality police have killed Amini. The protests are so widespread that the police chief felt compelled to refute them rather than ignore them. There are also large protests in the streets.

CONDOLENCED: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi held a press conference on September 19 before leaving for New York.  He said he had called the woman's family.  Photo: HANDOUT / AFP / Scanpix

CONDOLENCED: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi held a press conference on September 19 before leaving for New York. He said he had called the woman’s family. Photo: HANDOUT / AFP / Scanpix

Several hundred protested in the streets of Tehran on Monday, and women took off their hijabs in protest. The students at the University of Tehran demonstrated on Sunday. Images of burning police motorbikes and crowds demanding that hijab rules be relaxed spread into a major protest against incumbent President Ebrahim Raisi.

Police used water cannons against the protesters, according to The Guardian. Many women in the demonstration refused to wear the hijab.

DEMONSTRATORS: The moment when the demonstration in Tehran on Monday breaks up, and people run with their faces covered.  Photo: AFP / NTB

DEMONSTRATORS: The moment when the demonstration in Tehran on Monday breaks up, and people run with their faces covered. Photo: AFP / NTB

Raisi has tightened the rules on hijab use since the new year, writes The Guardian. Now he is trying to calm his mood ahead of his trip to New York on Tuesday to speak at the UN General Assembly about Iran’s nuclear agreement with the West. He is said to have called Amini’s family and expressed his grief.

Projections from the USA and the EU

The students who gathered in Tehran and Shahid Behesti demanded an explanation of how Mahsa Amini died.

So does the United States. They demand that someone be held accountable.

“Mahsa Amini’s death from injuries she sustained in police custody after wearing an ‘inappropriate’ hijab is a repulsive and gross attack on human rights,” said a spokesman for the White House Security Council.

The EU’s foreign policy spokesman has also commented on the matter.

– It is absolutely necessary that the Iranian authorities respect the citizens’ basic rights, and that those who are arrested are not subjected to any form of mistreatment.

Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt also says that she will raise the matter with Iran.

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