Protests over the death of young Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by the Morality Police in Tehran for not wearing the hijab or Islamic veil properly have spread to the capital of Iranian Kurdistan, Sanandaj.
Amini was buried in her home town of Aychi in the Saghez region of Iranian Kurdistan on Saturday, and the event turned into a protest demonstration that was broken up by police using tear gas.
On the same day, protests were noted in Sanandaj with slogans such as “Death to the dictator!” or “Death to Khamenei!”, in reference to the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as reported by the Saudi channel Al Arabiya.
The demonstrators also tore down a poster in memory of Qasem Soleimani, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Gaurd commander killed in Iraq in a U.S. attack, according to videos posted on social networks.
“Saqqez is not alone!” they have also shouted in reference to Amini’s hometown. In that locality on Friday there were mobilizations and some women removed the hijab as a gesture of protest.
Amini was arrested in Tehran when she was with her brother for “improper” wearing of the hijab. The intervention is attributed to officers of the Guidance Patrol or Morality Police, charged with enforcing dress codes, which usually results in the arrest of women, although some men have also been arrested.
Moral Police have shown security camera footage of the moment the woman entered the police station, according to IRNA. In addition, he has assured that according to a first investigation “there was no physical contact with her either in the car or on the spot”.
The family was informed that the woman was taken to a Morality Police headquarters for “an education and orientation class.” After two hours of waiting in front of the Moral Police station, her brother discovered that the woman had been taken by ambulance to a hospital. During that time he and other witnesses could hear screams and several women leaving the scene said that “he has killed someone”.
Media outlets such as the newspaper ‘Etemad’, which is sympathetic to reformist currents, have echoed the news, but so has the official news agency FARS news, dependent on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the elite military and ideological body of the regime of the Islamic Republic.
FARS has even published a petition open to signatures calling for “an end to the unwritten law of compulsory hijab wearing” and “an investigation into the causes of Mahsa Amini’s death.” The media also assures that both high authorities, starting with the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, have ordered a “thorough and urgent” investigation into what happened.
This is not the first such incident. In July a police officer arrested a woman who was harassed, beaten and videotaped for breaking the unwritten rule about the hijab. She was taken to a hospital with internal bleeding and then forced to publicly apologize on state television.
“For a woman to die after being arrested for how she was dressed is evidence of unacceptable depravity. A transparent investigation, proper accountability for those responsible for Mahsa’s death, and reparations for the family are absolutely necessary,” HRW said in a statement.
The group also calls for “the abolition of the mandatory hijab law” and other regulations that deprive women of their autonomy and rights.
Amnesty International has also called for “criminal investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in custody (…). All responsible agents and authorities must be brought to justice.”