Iranian Teen ‘Brain Dead’ Following Alleged Assault by Morality Police

Wire Service
By Wire Service
October 23, 2023Middle East
Iranian Teen ‘Brain Dead’ Following Alleged Assault by Morality Police
Women pull 16-year-old Armita Geravand from a train car on the Tehran Metro in Tehran, Iran, on Oct. 1, 2023, in a still from surveillance video aired by Iranian state television. (Iranian state television via AP)

A teenage Iranian girl who fell into a coma after she was allegedly assaulted by the country’s morality police for not wearing a headscarf is “brain dead,” state-aligned media said.

Armita Geravand, 16, was hospitalized with head injuries following the alleged assault at a Tehran metro station earlier this month, according to activists, just weeks after Iran passed draconian legislation imposing much harsher penalties on women who breach the country’s already strict hijab rules.

“Follow-ups on the latest health condition of Armita Geravand indicate that her condition of being brain dead seems certain despite the efforts of the medical staff,” the state-aligned Tasnim news agency reported Sunday, without providing a source for the information.

Earlier in October, the Norway-based Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, which focuses on Kurdish rights, said Armita was “assaulted” by morality police and fell into a coma. Another opposition network, IranWire, said Geravand was admitted to the hospital with “head trauma.”

Hengaw staffer Awyer Shekhi previously told CNN that female morality police officers had approached Armita near the Shohada metro station and asked her to adjust her hijab.

“This request resulted in an altercation with the morality police officers physically assaulting Geravand. She was pushed, leading to her collapse,” Shekhi said.

Iranian authorities have denied the allegations, saying Armita was hospitalized due to an injury caused by low blood pressure.

Armita’s friends and family have echoed those denials in interviews with state media, though it is unclear if they were coerced into doing so. U.N. officials and rights groups have previously accused Iranian authorities of pressuring families of killed protesters to make statements supportive of the regime’s narrative.

Iran’s parliament in September passed a so-called “hijab bill” on the wearing of clothing—which if violated can carry up to 10 years in prison—following the first anniversary of mass protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, died last September after being detained by the regime’s infamous morality police, allegedly for not abiding by the country’s strict dress code.

Reporters Jailed

On Sunday, Iranian authorities jailed two journalists who first covered Amini’s death.

Niloofar Hamedi, who worked for the reformist Shargh newspaper, was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison on charges including “cooperating with the hostile government of the United States,” and “collusion to commit crimes against the country’s security,” state-run Mizan news reported.

Elaheh Mohammadi, who worked for reformist newspaper Ham-Mihan, was sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison on similar charges, according to Mizan.

Last year, Iranian intelligence accused Ms. Hamedi of using her role as a journalist as cover to stir dissent.

Ms. Hamedi’s husband, Mohammad Hossein Ajorloo, said the verdict had been announced on her birthday.

“These verdicts are a [wrong response] to honest and honorable efforts on the parts of Niloofar and Elaheh. We hope these sentences will be overturned and Niloofar and Elaheh will be released as soon as possible,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists, said the convictions “are a travesty and serve as a stark reminder to the erosion of freedom of speech and the desperate attempts of the Iranian government to criminalize journalism.”

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