September 28, 2022

Balkan Travellers

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Iran: 22-year-old woman dies after being arrested by morality police for her dress

What happened ? A young Iranian woman who was arrested by morality police in Tehran on Tuesday died on Friday, state television reported. Mahza Amini, 22, was arrested on Tuesday by a special police unit responsible for enforcing strict dress codes for women while visiting Tehran with her family.

Mahza Amini was arrested along with other women to receive “instructions” on dress codes, Tehran police said on Thursday. “She suddenly suffered from a heart problem (…) and she was rushed to the hospital,” he said.

“Unfortunately, he died and his body has been transferred to a forensic institute,” state television said on Friday. In a statement, Tehran police confirmed the death, saying there was “no physical contact” between police officers and the woman.

On Tuesday, Mahza Amini was “taken to a police headquarters along with several others for wearing inappropriate clothes” but “she was in a meeting room with others when she suddenly disappeared.

A Controversial Moral Police

State television showed excerpts from a video showing a room, apparently in a police station, where you could see several women. One of them, introduced as Mahza Amini, got up to argue with an “instructor” about her outfit, and then collapsed. In another scene, emergency services carry the woman’s body to an ambulance.

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In a press release, the Iranian President’s Office indicated that President Ibrahim Raisi had ordered the Interior Minister to conduct an investigation into the matter before the death was announced. The country’s judicial authority announced via its news agency Mizan Online that it was forming a special committee to launch an investigation.

The incident comes amid controversy over the behavior of morality police who patrol the streets to check the veil law and other Islamic rules are being enforced in public. In July, police found themselves at the center of controversy after a video showing a woman pleading for her daughter’s release in front of the police van she was in went viral.

When the mother tried to stop the vehicle from moving, the van sped away. Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the law required all women, regardless of nationality or religious beliefs, to wear a head and neck veil. However, over the past two decades, more and more women in Tehran and other major cities are leaving their hair, or even more, sticking out of their veils.