Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old woman who suffered a brain injury after being violently detained by the “morality patrol” in Tehran, has died in hospital.
A relative confirmed to IranWire that Mahsa died in Kasra Hospital on Friday due to the severity of the injuries she had sustained. Her body is expected to be handed back to the family.
There remains a heavy security presence outside the hospital. News of Mahsa falling into a coma on Tuesday night spread rapidly both inside Iran and among well-known public figures abroad.
Shortly after 6pm on Tuesday, Mahsa was abducted off the street in front of her brother Kiarash by a “morality patrol” van. The family, from Saqqez, had been in the capital on a holiday.
Vigilantes told Kiarash that his sister was being taken for “re-education” and would be released later that night. When he tried to intervene he was tear-gassed and his arms twisted behind his back.
Around two hours later Mahsa was rushed from a detention center in Vozara Avenue to hospital. Doctors told the family she was braindead.
Dozens of other women were being held at the same facility that night. The publication of Mahsa’s picture on the night she was killed, and of her lying unconscious in the ICU, have sparked outrage in Iran.
The tragedy comes after a months-long, sustained assault on women’s civic freedoms spearheaded by the government and the so-called Headquarters for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.
This has re-emboldened the so-called “morality patrols” that stalk major cities harassing women over their choice of clothing, as well as isolated attacks on women by vigilantes.
In a statement on Thursday, Tehran Police claimed that Mahsa had suffered "a heart problem" while in custody. Her uncle told the news outlet Etemad that these claims were “pure lies” and said Mahsa had been in perfect health.
"Covered Up With a Shroud"
Horror and outrage is mounting in Iran at the news of Mahsa Amini’s death.
Ali Karimi, a well-known Iranian football star, posted a picture of Mahsa lying prone in hospital on his Instagram page on Thursday. “The future of Iran is a woman,” he wrote. After news broke of Mahsa’s death the next day, he posted simply: “My country is orphaned.”
فرزندان آنها میروند— ali karimi (@alikarimi_ak8) September 16, 2022
فرزندان ما میمیرند
Alireza Jahanbakhsh, the current captain of Iran's national football team, wrote on his Instagram page: "And our girls' hair is covered up - with a shroud."
Former captain Masoud Shojaei noted the same: “She was sacrificed for her hair." Another ex-footballer, Hossein Mahini, reposted the image of a hospitalized Mahsa on Twitter and wrote simply: “We hate you.”
The Iranian actress Hanieh Tavassoli, who has recently faced pressure from the security agencies herself due to speaking out about sexual abuse in Iranian cinema, said: “I am appalled… A girl, 22 years young. Crime? Bad hijab. I’m so sorry, desperate and miserable, with all my heart.”
Fellow actress Leah Remini described the assault on Mahsa as "unacceptable no matter what, but the fact that she was arrested for improper wearing of the hijab makes it even more horrifying".
Mahsa Amini, 22, is in a coma after being tortured by Iranian authorities.— Leah Remini (@LeahRemini) September 15, 2022
This would be unacceptable no matter what, but the fact that she was arrested for improper wearing of the hijab makes it even more horrifying.
Please join me in sharing her name and story.#مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/FEB6BYfIZO
On Friday afternoon a crowd had begun to gather outside the hospital where Mahsa died. Videos from the scene showed a heavy police presence and scuffles between officers and individual bystanders.
Members of the public have started gathering in protest outside the hospital where Mahsa Amini sadly passed away after being detained by morality police.— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) September 16, 2022
The video shows the main entrance to Tehran's Kasra Hospital this afternoon (35.739372,51.4147088)