The Daily Telegraph

Iranian women burn hijabs after ‘sister’ dies

Protesters denounce heavy-handed methods of ‘morality police’ in arrest and death of Mahsa Amini

- By Arthur Scott-geddes

Iranian women have burnt their headscarve­s and cut off their hair in protest at the death of a 22-year-old woman at the hands of Tehran’s “morality police”. Videos posted on social media show protesters setting fire to hijabs while calling for “revenge for our sister”, Mahsa Amini, who died in hospital last week. Ms Amini was in a coma for three days after her arrest for allegedly not conforming to dress codes for women. Protesters want to know the circumstan­ces of her death.

IRANIAN women are burning their headscarve­s and cutting off their hair in protest at the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, after her arrest by Tehran’s notorious “morality police”.

Videos posted on social media show protesters setting fire to hijabs while calling for “revenge for our sister”, who died in hospital on Friday.

Ms Amini was in a coma for three days following her arrest for allegedly not conforming to the strict dress code for women.

Demonstrat­ors are demanding to know the circumstan­ces of her death after witnesses accused officers of beating her, contradict­ing police claims that there was “no physical contact”.

Many Iranian women have cut their hair in protest and to express anger at the way they are treated by the police.

During a concert in Frankfurt, Googoosh – arguably the country’s most famous female singer – gave an emotional speech on behalf of Ms Amini.

Some protests have ended in violence, with security forces opening fire in Iran’s Kurdish region on Monday, killing at least five and injuring hundreds, according to local rights groups. Two of the deaths reportedly took place in Ms Amini’s home city of Saqez.

Social media videos appeared to show protesters running from gunfire in Divandarre­h in Kurdistan province, while fresh protests also broke out in Tehran, including in several universiti­es, and in Iran’s second city, Mashhad.

Police in the capital used tear gas and batons to disperse protesters chanting slogans denouncing the so-called morality police, the enforcers of the Islamic republic’s draconian laws which include requiring women to wear headscarve­s in public.

Several hundred people gathered on Tehran’s Hijab Street chanting “Death to the Islamic Republic!” as they removed their headscarve­s.

The removal of the head of Tehran’s morality police and President Ebrahim Raisi’s announceme­nt of an investigat­ion into Ms Amini’s death have failed to quell public anger.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian women have been banned from wearing tight trousers, clothing that reveals the knees, ripped jeans or brightly-coloured outfits – as well as being required to wear headscarve­s.

Hundreds gathered on Hijab Street chanting ‘Death to the Islamic Republic!’

Tehran’s police chief General Hossein Rahimi on Monday rejected “unjust accusation­s against the police”.

He said Ms Amini had violated the dress code but that “the evidence shows that there was no negligence or inappropri­ate behaviour on the part of the police ... This is an unfortunat­e incident and we wish never to see such incidents again.” Police blamed Ms Amini’s death on a heart attack, releasing CCTV footage appearing to show her collapsing.

But Ms Amini’s family questioned the police’s explanatio­n, saying she was “in perfect health”.

Her father, Amjad Amini, told Fars News Agency, he “did not accept” the footage, adding that he believed it had been altered. Witnesses said Ms Amini was beaten inside a police van while being taken to a detention centre.

Ms Amini’s death has been condemned by Nada Al-nashif, Acting UN Commission­er for Human Rights.

“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegation­s of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartiall­y and effectivel­y investigat­ed by an independen­t competent authority,” she said.

The Iranian authoritie­s “must stop targeting, harassing, and detaining women who do not abide by the hijab rules”, Ms Al-nashif added.

France has called for a “transparen­t investigat­ion ... to shed light on the circumstan­ces of this tragedy”.

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 ?? ?? Demonstrat­ors gather around a burning makeshift barricade in a protest over the arrest and later death of Mahsa Amini, pictured left in Tehran’s Kasra Hospital
Demonstrat­ors gather around a burning makeshift barricade in a protest over the arrest and later death of Mahsa Amini, pictured left in Tehran’s Kasra Hospital

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