A lawyer for Mahsa Amini’s family has expressed cynicism over the possibility of a rigorous and fair investigation into the 22-year-old’s death.
In his first interview since agreeing to represent the family, Mohammad Saleh Nikbakht told the Iraqi Kurdish network Rudaw that they would argue Mahsa had been killed by the Iranian authorities.
Mahsa, also known by her Kurdish name Zhina, was forced into a van by the “morality patrol” two weeks ago while on holiday with her family in Tehran.
Two hours later she was rushed from custody to hospital. Doctors reported that she was braindead on arrival, with the available evidence suggesting she had suffered serious head injuries. She died on Friday, September 16.
Nikbakht told Rudaw that unlike claims pressed by the Islamic Republic that she had pre-existing conditions, Mahsa was in excellent health and had been looking forward to starting her studies at Urmia University.
“All the claims that the [Iranian] establishment make about Zhina, such as her having a chronic illness and so on, are lies and not to be taken seriously.
“The killing of prisoners in these places is not something new or limited to Zhina. If she was killed in Kurdistan, they could have twisted the facts, but this time they could not.”
Nikbakht said the family’s legal team had requested an independent fact-finding committee, rather than the compromised authorities in Tehran, be set up to investigate the real cause of Mahsa’s death.
But he expressed little hope that any future trial would have a satisfactory outcome, hold the right people accountable or compel change.
Mahsa would have turned 23 on Thursday. Protests in her name, prompted by the misogynist violence of the “morality patrol” and quickly turning into an all-encompassing movement against dictatorship in Iran, continued on Tuesday night.