Protests ravage Iran after woman’s death arrested by morality police

Five people were killed by Iranian security forces during protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, who was detained by police, according to a human rights monitor.

Hengaw Human Rights Organization, a Norway-registered organization that monitors human rights violations in Iran, said five people were shot dead during demonstrations in the Kurdish region of Iran on Monday.

It said 75 others were injured in other cities over the weekend.

Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif issued a statement Tuesday expressing concern at “the violent response of [Iranian] security forces” to the demonstrations.

Protests have erupted in Iran over the death of a woman detained by police. (AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Tehran Governor Mohsen Mansouri accused the protesters of assaulting police and destroying public property, claiming in a Twitter post late Monday that the protesters were “fully organized and trained to cause riots in Tehran.” .

CNN was unable to independently verify reports of the dead and injured.

Protests erupted after the death of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in Tehran after being arrested by Iran’s vice squad last week.

Human rights monitors say some protesters have been shot. (AP)

Iranian officials said Amini died Friday after suffering a “heart attack” and slipped into a coma following her arrest last Tuesday.

However, her family said she had no pre-existing heart condition, said Emtedad News, an Iranian pro-reform media outlet that claimed to have spoken with Amini’s father.

Edited surveillance camera footage released by Iranian state media appeared to have Amini collapse in a “re-education center” where she was taken to receive “guidance” on her clothing.

Iran’s vice squad is part of the country’s law enforcement and is charged with enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict social rules, including the dress code that requires women to wear a headscarf or hijab in public.

During the protests, a police motorcycle is set on fire. (AP)

The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said in a statement on Tuesday that in recent months the morality police has expanded street patrols and subjected women perceived as wearing a “loose hijab” to verbal and physical harassment and arrest.

“(OHCHR) has received numerous and verified videos of violent treatment of women, including hitting women in the face, batting with batons and throwing them into police vans,” the message reads.

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

Mahsa Amini was arrested for not wearing a hijab. (AP)

Iranian police said Amini’s death was an “unfortunate incident” and denied she suffered any physical harm while in custody, Iran’s semi-official news agency, Fars News, said Monday.

Iranian officials said they performed an autopsy on Amini’s body.

The director of Iran’s Forensic Medical Organization, Mehdi Forrozesh, said on state television on Saturday that the results would be released after further investigation by medical experts.

At a press conference on Monday, Greater Tehran Police Commander Hossein Rahimi said police had “did everything” to keep her alive.

But the police statements were not accepted by protesters.

The UN said thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities such as Tehran, Isfahan, Karaj, Mashhad, Rasht, Saqqes and Sanandaj to demand justice and accountability.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported that the protesters were “unconvinced” by the police’s justification of Amini’s death, claiming she died “under torture”.

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After Amini’s funeral ceremony on Saturday, security forces fired tear gas at protesters in her hometown of Saqqez, Kurdistan province, Fars said, while Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency said the protesters demanded answers from police and allegedly threw stones. to the governor’s office.

Fars also released a video showing protesters demonstrating on Sunday in the capital of Kurdistan province, Sanandaj, chanting slogans at officials.

A video shared by the Free Union of Iranian Workers showed protesters in Sanandaj chanting “death to dictator”.

Another video showed women taking off their headscarves and waving them in protest in Tehran.

Separately, internet watchdog NetBlocks said on Monday that its real-time data showed “near total disruption of internet connectivity in Sanandaj”.

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