Mahsa Amini is Another Victim of the Islamic Republic’s War on Women

Protesters in Tehran Call for “Death to the Oppressor”

September 16, 2022 – The death of Mahsa Amini, 22, after being declared medically braindead following her arrest by so-called morality police in Tehran is a preventable tragedy that should be strongly condemned worldwide to prevent further violence against women in Iran.

Protests broke out in Tehran today with demonstrators shouting, “Death to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei!” and “Death to the Oppressor!” following days of outrage on social media over Amini’s treatment by the authorities.

“Mahsa Amini is one among countless victims of the Islamic Republic’s war on women,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“She was arrested under the guise of the state’s forced-hijab law and died shortly after,” he added. “The government is responsible for her death and decades of women being harassed, detained and otherwise harmed under the guise of this discriminatory, inhuman law.”

CHRI calls on world leaders and international human rights organizations to hold Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi accountable for Amini’s death and the state’s record of worsening human rights violations when he visits New York for the UN General Assembly next week.

“Raisi will be given a platform in New York to freely address the world while his government criminalizes free speech and stamps on human rights at home,” said Ghaemi.

“Speaking out against Raisi and the government’s abhorrent human rights record can land you in jail or get you killed if you do it in Iran,” he added. “We have no excuse to be silent here.”

Family Told Amini Was Arrested for “Re-Education”

Amini was visiting Tehran with her family when she was arrested on September 13, 2022, for her alleged inappropriate hijab and taken to the Vozara Detention Center.

Her family was told that she was being taken for “re-education” and would be released later that night.

On September 15, 2022, photos surfaced online of Amini reportedly in a coma and on September 16, after being declared medically braindead, she passed away.

Amini was “healthy” and “did not have heart disease” as alleged by the police, said her uncle in a Persian media report.

“The cause of the accident is clear as day,” said Amini’s uncle who was not identified by name. “What happens when they grab girls and stick them in the car with such ferocity and terror? Do they have the right? They know nothing about Islam, nor humanity.”

Iran’s morality police, also referred to as anti-vice police, routinely subject women and sometimes men to harassment and arrests for engaging in alleged inappropriate behavior in public.

Countless women have been subjected to state violence due to discriminatory laws against women or the lack of legal protections against violence.

Most recently writer Sepideh Rashnoo was beaten in state custody and forced to make statements on state TV after being arrested in July 2022 for allegedly wearing an improper hijab on a bus in Tehran. She is now facing years in prison after being charged with national security crimes.

All women in Iran were forced to wear hijabs one year after the 1979 revolution despite ongoing protests and peaceful resistance.

In July 2022, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called on all government entities to strictly enforce “chastity and hijab” and described peaceful resistance to the forced-hijab law as “an organized promotion of [moral] corruption in Islamic society.”

Since Raisi took power in 2020 after running virtually uncontested, the government in Iran has ramped up repression of basic rights throughout the country. Now, after domestic and international outrage over Amini’s case, the interior ministry and Tehran’s prosecution said they would investigate the case.