UN concerned over Iran’s ‘violent repression’ of protests

Tehran, Iran.- The UN expressed concern on Tuesday about the Iranian government’s violent repression against protests over the death in police custody of the moral of the young Mahsa Amini.

Mahsa Amini, 22, originally from the Kurdistan region, was arrested last week while visiting her family in Tehran by the Morality Police who were monitoring the correct wearing of the Muslim headscarf. She died in hospital on Friday after three days in a coma and protests broke out in several cities across the country, including the capital, following her death.

“The United Nations Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al Nashif, today expressed concern about the death of Mahsa Amini during her detention, and about the violent reaction of the Iranian security forces to the demonstrations that followed,” underlines a statement from the Office.

“The tragic death of Mahsa Amini and the allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by a competent independent authority to ensure that her family has access to justice and the truth.”

According to a UN spokesman, “between two and five people were killed, according to some reports” during the demonstrations over the young woman’s death. Police, he added, have “fired live ammunition” and used tear gas.

Al Nashif also pointed out that the Iranian Morality Police have expanded their patrols in recent months and persecuted women who do not properly wear the Islamic veil or hijab, which covers their hair. The Bureau said it had verified videos showing women being slapped in the face, beaten with batons and thrown into police vans for wearing hijabs that were too loose.

According to the Iranian authorities, the young woman died of natural causes, but according to information released by the Office of the High Commissioner, she was violently beaten on the head and against a vehicle of the Morality Police.

Iran has seen waves of protests in recent years, mostly over a protracted economic crisis aggravated by Western sanctions tied to Iran’s nuclear program. The authorities have managed to quell the protests by force.

Mahsa Amini’s family denies police version

A moral police patrol arrested Masha Amini, 22, last Tuesday and took her to a police station, where she lost consciousness. She died three days later. Police denied ill-treating Amini and said she had died of a heart attack. Authorities said they were investigating the incident.

The Police published last week some images taken with a security camera that supposedly showed the moment in which Amini had collapsed. But her family said she had no history of heart problems.

Amjad Amini, her father, told an Iranian news website that witnesses had seen her being pushed into a police car.

“I asked for access to (video) from the cameras inside the car, as well as from the police station yard, but they did not respond,” he said. She also accused the police of not getting her to a hospital in time, saying she could have revived her.

When he got to the hospital, he said, he was not allowed to see the body, but he did catch a glimpse of a bruise on his foot.

Authorities then pressured him to bury her at night, apparently to reduce the chances of a protest, but Amini said the family had managed to get them to bury her at 8am instead.

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