A 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini, who fell into a coma after she was beaten by the ‘Morality Police’ for wearing ‘improper hijab’, died on Friday in Tehran. Iranian media reported that Amini died in hospital, quoting official sources.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mahsa Amini was declared brain dead, hours after she was arrested by the ‘Morality Police’ in Tehran for “improper hijab”, which means she had not fully covered her hair. She was arrested by the police and then beaten in the police van while being taken to a detention centre, dubbed as a ‘re-education class’ for not conforming to the country’s mandatory hijab rules.

According to the reports, the incident is said to have happened on September 13 when Amini, a native of Saghez, Iran had travelled to Tehran for a pleasure trip. The woman was with her brother Kiarash at the entrance to the Shahid Haghani Expressway when the ‘Morality Police’ arrived and arrested Amini for a one-hour ‘re-education class’.

The police took the woman to the police station on Vozara Avenue where already dozens of other women were being held for not following the mandatory hijab rules of the country. They beat the women and schooled them about the proper dress rules of the country.

Mahsa was taken to the police station for ‘re-education class’ for not wearing a hijab, alleged her brother

According to Kairash, the brother of the victim, the police van blocked the path of his sister and abducted her. The police assaulted and twisted Kairash’s arm when he tried to save his sister from being taken away. After he untangled himself, they informed him that Mahsa would be taken to the station and freed after a one-hour of a ‘re-education lesson’.

Kairash then happened to follow the police van to Vozara Avenue where he saw 60 to 70 persons carrying clothes for the detained women inside. He said he saw a few women being released from the detention centre while other women from inside were screaming for their lives.

“All of us were banging on the doors. All of a sudden the agents rushed out of the building and attacked us with batons and teargas. My whole body is black and blue and my eyes have been burning since last night. Five minutes later an ambulance left the building. Every one of them said somebody inside had been killed”, Kairash was quoted.

He said that the police lied to him and said that one of the soldiers was injured. However one of the released women confirmed to Kairash that Mahsa was injured and that she was beside her when the incident happened. The victim was then taken to the Kasra Hospital by the police. Kairash rushed to the hospital to learn that his sister had sustained serious injuries.

The doctors at the hospital claimed that the victim had suffered a heart attack and a stroke. They said that her heart continued to beat but her brain was no longer functioning. Speaking to Iran Wire, a devastated Kairash said it took hours from Mahsa’s arrest to take her body to the hospital, alleging that the beating and the subsequent delay in getting medical treatment rendered his sister fighting for her life.

Mahsa’s family put under surveillance

Security officers were summoned to the hospital when reports of Mahsa’s coma surfaced on social media. Her family has also been under police observation since Tuesday night, despite a police officer in the hospital promising that Mahsa’s assailant, not them, will be probed.

Kairash, meanwhile, attempted to file a legal complaint against the police but the courthouse in Tehran directed him to go to the headquarters on Vozara Avenue. “They gave me a letter and told me to go to the headquarters in Vozara Avenue to register my complaint there. It’s like asking my father to name the murderer if I killed someone in our house. But I won’t allow this to end in silence. I will tell everyone in Iran what happened,” a furious Kairash said.

Tehran police claim the woman already suffered from a heart problem

Reports mention that the police have been trying to cover up the matter. On Thursday, the Tehran Police released a statement claiming that Mahsa was already suffering from a heart problem and that she was never beaten. “A woman was led to a precinct of Greater Tehran Police for education and guidance when suddenly she suffered a heart problem while she was among others also there for guidance,” the statement read.

“With the cooperation of police and emergency services, this woman was immediately taken to the hospital, where she is being treated and is cared for,” it added. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the hijab became mandatory in public for Iranian women and girls above the age of nine in Iran. Many Iranian women have broken the prohibition and pushed the limits of what officials consider acceptable apparel throughout the years.

In recent months, Iran’s state-sponsored ethical patrols have increased their appearance in major cities, intimidating and pulling women from the streets due to their attire choices. Much less is known about the other crimes perpetrated against women in patrol sites and prison facilities. Notably, one of the human right activist named Puran Nazimi has challenged the police statement in Mahsa’s case and has asked the authorities to release security camera evidence to prove they did not beat the woman. As per the police statement, Mahsa is in a coma and is being treated at the hospital.

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