A young Iranian woman has died after falling into a coma following her detention by morality police enforcing Iran’s strict hijab rules, sparking protests by Iranians on social media and on the streets on Friday.
In the past few months, Iranian rights activists have urged women to publicly remove their veils, a gesture that would risk their arrest for defying the Islamic dress code as the country’s hardline rulers crack down harder on “immoral behavior.”
Videos posted on social media have shown cases of what appeared to be heavy-handed action by morality police units against women who had removed their hijab.
Authorities launched probes into the death of Mahsa Amini following a demand by President Ebrahim Raisi, state media reported on Friday, as police said the 22-year-old was taken ill as she waited together with other detained women at a morality police station.
“Based on detailed investigations, since her transfer to the vehicle and also at the location (station), there was no physical encounter with her,” a police statement said, rejecting allegations on social media that Amini was likely beaten
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage carried by state TV appeared to show a woman identified as Amini falling over after getting up from her seat to speak to an official at a police station. Reuters could not authenticate the video.
Police earlier said Amini had suffered a heart attack after being taken to the station to be “convinced and educated,” state television said, denying allegations she was beaten.