Iran's Morality Police Accused Of Beating Girl Into Coma Over Hijab
Iran's morality police accused of beating girl into coma over hijab as activists alleged that they physically assaulted her and have shared a photograph purportedly depicting her in a coma. The incident involved Armita Geravand, a 16-year-old who collapsed after boarding a Tehran metro train at Shohada station on a recent Sunday.
Official statements indicated that she had fainted, and they released CCTV footage showing her being removed from the train while unconscious. However, the human rights group Hengaw has claimed that Armita was subjected to a severe physical assault by morality police officers.
According to Hengaw, she is currently receiving medical treatment at Tehran's Fajr Hospital under strict security measures, and the phones of all her family members have reportedly been confiscated. In a concerning development, authorities briefly detained a female journalist from the Sharq newspaper who had gone to the hospital to cover the case on Monday.
Hengaw, an organization that highlights issues concerning Iran's Kurdish ethnic minority, revealed on Tuesday afternoon that Armita resided in Tehran but originally hailed from the primarily Kurdish western province of Kermanshah.
"[She] was physically attacked by authorities at Shohada station... for what they perceived as non-compliance with the compulsory 'hijab'," it added. "As a result, she sustained severe injuries and was transported to the hospital."
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Two prominent human rights activists claimed that there was a clash with authorities responsible for enforcing strict dress code regulations.
Radio Zamaneh, based in Amsterdam, cited an anonymous source who claimed that the teenager was "physically pushed by enforcers of the hijab" after she entered the train without wearing a headscarf, resulting in her hitting her head on an iron pole.
On Tuesday night, Hengaw shared a photo on X, formerly known as Twitter, purporting to be of Armita in an unconscious state in the hospital. The photo shows a girl with short hair lying on her back in a hospital bed with her head bandaged and connected to what appears to be a breathing tube.
Furthermore, the rights group stated that it had received information indicating that Armita's parents had been interviewed by the state news agency, Irna, "in the presence of high-ranking security officers under considerable pressure at Fajr Hospital."
Irna reported Armita's mother as stating that they had viewed the CCTV footage and acknowledged that the incident on Sunday was an "accident."
I think my daughter's blood pressure dropped, I am not too sure, I think they have said her pressure dropped.- Armita's mother
Masood Dorosti, the managing director of the Tehran metro, has refuted any claims of "verbal or physical conflict" occurring between Armita and either passengers or metro officials.
"Some rumors about a confrontation with metro agents... are not true and CCTV footage refutes this claim," he told Irna.
The footage reportedly depicts Armita, who had her hair uncovered, entering a train on the platform alongside two other girls. Shortly after, one of the girls exits the train and stoops down.
Following this, several passengers, along with the girl who exited, are observed assisting an unconscious Armita by holding her arms and legs and subsequently laying her down on the platform.
Certain Iranian social media users pointed out that the video released by authorities only captured the platform and did not provide any footage from inside the train. Additionally, no footage from the entrance to the station, where inspections related to hijabs may occur, was made available.
These observers drew parallels between this incident and the case of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who tragically passed away in custody in September 2022 after being detained by morality police in Tehran on allegations of wearing her hijab "improperly." Witnesses asserted that she had been subjected to physical abuse by officers, although authorities attributed her death to pre-existing medical conditions.
The release of CCTV footage depicting Amini collapsing at a detention center, along with a photograph of her in the hospital, triggered outrage among many Iranians. This eventually led to anti-government protests erupting across the nation when she died after three days in a coma.
In the aftermath of Mahsa Amini's death, a violent crackdown by security forces resulted in hundreds of casualties and the detention of thousands more. One year later, the protests have largely subsided, but occasional demonstrations persist, and many girls and women have chosen to openly defy the dress code by not covering their hair in public.