DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (TNZT) – A top United Nations official on Tuesday demanded an independent investigation into the death of an Iranian woman detained by the country’s vice squad, as authorities acknowledged they had made arrests in protests over the crime. incident.
The woman’s death has sparked demonstrations across the country, including the capital Tehran, where protesters chanted against the government and clashed with police.
The UN Human Rights Office said Iran’s moral police has expanded its patrols in recent months, targeting women who do not properly wear the Islamic headscarf, also known as hijab. Verified videos show women being punched in the face, beaten with batons and thrown into police vans for wearing the hijab too loosely.
A similar patrol last Tuesday detained 22-year-old Mahsa Amini and took her to a police station where she collapsed. She died three days later. Iranian police deny mistreating Amini and say she died of a heart attack. Authorities say they are investigating the incident.
“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority,” said Nada Al-Nashif, the acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Iranian government has not immediately responded to the statement, but has previously criticized the work of UN investigators investigating rights issues in the country.
Police released closed-circuit video footage last week that allegedly shows the moment Amini collapsed. But her family says she had no history of heart problems.
Amjad Amini, her father, told an Iranian news website that witnesses saw her being pushed into a police car.
“I asked for access to (videos) from cameras in the car and in the courtyard of the police station, but they didn’t answer,” he said. He also accused the police of not getting her to the hospital fast enough and said she could have been resuscitated.
He said he was not allowed to view the body upon arrival at the hospital, but was able to catch a glimpse of bruises on her foot.
Authorities then pressured him to bury her overnight, apparently to reduce the chances of protests, but Amini said the family convinced them to have her buried at 8 a.m. instead.
Amini, who was Kurdish, was buried on Saturday in her home city of Saqez in western Iran. There, protests broke out after her funeral, and police fired tear gas on Saturday and Sunday to disperse protesters. Several protesters were arrested.
Protests spread to Tehran and other cities on Monday. A state TV-affiliated news website said 22 people have been arrested in a protest in the northern city of Rasht, the first official confirmation of arrests related to the protests.
State television showed images of protests on Monday, including images of two police cars with their windows smashed. It said the protesters also set fire to two motorcycles and burned Iranian flags in Kurdish areas and Tehran.
The state broadcaster blamed the unrest on foreign countries and exiled opposition groups, accusing them of using Amini’s death as a pretext for more economic sanctions.
Iran has seen waves of protests in recent years, mainly because of a protracted economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions related to the country’s nuclear program. The authorities have succeeded in crushing the protests by force.