This Thursday, Iranian security forces arrested the mother of Armita Garawand, the 16-year-old girl who is in a coma after allegedly being attacked by the country’s moral police, who wanted to detain her for not wearing a veil. The rights group Hengaw, which has revealed similar police abuses, reported that the girl’s mother, Shahin Ahmadi, is in police custody. Armita’s case has caused a stir in the country due to its similarities to the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, the young woman who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing the veil correctly. Her death sparked massive protests across the country, demanding more freedoms for women, economic improvements and the end of the ayatollah regime.
The attack on Garawand occurred in the Tehran metro last Sunday, when she was detained by the police for walking down the street without a veil. Garawand was assaulted by authorities during her arrest and she was left in a coma after falling to the ground during the struggle, according to rights group Hengaw. The organization has published images of the young woman admitted to the hospital, with her head and neck completely bandaged. The authorities insist that the young woman fainted when she was questioned by the police, who carried her out of the car in their arms. The security forces have even published a video from the place’s security cameras, which has been modified to only show the part in which the young woman is taken out of the subway, and she is unconscious.
Since her admission to the hospital, the authorities have pressured the young woman’s family to declare publicly that their daughter did not suffer any type of police aggression. Garawand’s parents appeared in the media last Monday, stating that they had “reviewed all the security camera videos” and asserting that “it was an accident.” YesThey have been deprived of access to the hospital where his daughter is admitted, while the building has been guarded by a strong police force. The journalist from the opposition newspaper SharghMaryam Lotfi, was arrested for trying to visit Garawand at the hospital.
The arrest comes days after the Iranian parliament approved a new law, which increases prison sentences of up to ten years and imposes heavy fines for not wearing the veil correctly in public spaces. The new amendment marks a strict separation between men and women in public spaces and punishes merchants who allow unveiled women to enter their establishments. It also imposes greater technological control of citizens, with recognition cameras on the roads to identify women who drive without veils, as well as the tracking of users on networks critical of the Government. The legal reform was approved a year after massive protests against the regime that broke out after the death of Mahsa Jina Amini.
The regime has not granted a single one of the demands that the protesters in the street were asking for and has imposed greater control over citizens. In the last year more than 20,000 Iranians have been arrested in protests and in their homes. More than 500 people have died in the protests, mostly shot by security forces, while reports of torture, sexual assault and humiliation in detention centers increase. More than twenty people have been sentenced to death for their participation in the protests and seven of them have already been executed. At least 15 journalists have been arrested in the last year for reporting on the protests and access to the websites of several newspapers has been banned. The regime has also cut off the internet connection on several occasions to prevent protests from being organized.