three dead in protests for a woman who died from a poorly placed veil

Three people died during demonstrations in Iranian Kurdistan to protest the death of a young woman after she was arrested by the vice squad, the governor of the province said on Tuesday, quoted by the Fars news agency.

Gov. Ismail Zarei Koosha spoke of three “suspicious” deaths and an “enemy-instigated conspiracy” and assured Fars that one of the victims was killed with a different type of weapon than that used by the Iranian security forces. Demonstrations erupted in Tehran and Iranian Kurdistan on Sunday after the death of Mahsa Amini, originally from that region, was announced on Friday.

This 22-year-old Iranian woman was in a coma after being arrested by the police unit responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women, specifically wearing the veil in public.

Amini died on Friday, three days after being taken to hospital after being arrested by police. According to Iranian authorities, the young woman died of natural causes but was severely beaten in the head and against a police vehicle, according to activists and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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The United Nations and human rights groups spoke out on Tuesday at the violent crackdown on demonstrations in Iran following the death of a young woman detained by vice squads. Mahsa Amini, 22, died on Friday, three days after she was hospitalized after being arrested by police for violating Iran’s strict dress code for women, specifically the veil.

According to Iranian authorities, the young woman died of natural causes, but was severely beaten on the head and against a police vehicle, according to activists and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

His death has sparked protests in the capital, Tehran, but the fiercest clashes have occurred in Iran’s Kurdistan province, where Amini originally came from. Human rights activists said four protesters were killed and dozens injured and arrested in those clashes.

Testimonies and videos circulating on social media “suggest that authorities in Kurdistan province used tear gas to disperse protesters and apparently used deadly force,” New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch said .

Speaking in Geneva today (Tuesday), Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al Nashif expressed her concern at the death of Mahsa Amini while she was in custody and at the violent response by Iranian security forces to the demonstrations that followed.

“The tragic death of Mahsa Amini and the allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated (…)”, Al Nashif added. According to a spokeswoman for the Office of the High Commissioner, Ravina Shamdasani, “between two and five people have been reported killed” during demonstrations to protest the death of the young woman.

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He stressed that the police “fired live ammunition” and used tear gas. Norway-based Kurdish human rights group Hengaw said a total of three deaths have been confirmed in Kurdistan province in the cities of Divandareh, Saqqez and Dehglan.

In addition, 221 were injured and 250 arrested in the same region where a general strike was called on Monday. Images released on social media showed heavy clashes between protesters and security forces, particularly in the city of Divandareh, and gunshots can be heard.

Amini’s death has sparked an international outcry, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken himself on Monday “called on the Iranian government to end its systematic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protests.” The veil has been mandatory in public in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ended the Shah’s regime.

Ensuring that these norms are observed is the responsibility of a special police unit known as the “morality police,” which has the power to arrest women who do not respect the dress code, although they are usually released on condition.

In an unusual position, an Iranian parliamentarian criticized this special unit, whose actions are controversial. “The Gasht e Ershad (morale patrol) is not getting any results except causing harm to the country,” MP Jalal Rashidi Koochi told ISNA news agency. “Do the people who are being led by this unit to these +education+ sessions regain consciousness and do they regret leaving?” the lawmaker asks.

Source: AFP.

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