DUBAI (UAE) (Reuters) – Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died suddenly after being detained by police, sparked protests across Iran. Sources close to the family said Amini was a shy, reserved woman from a small town who had never challenged religious leaders or the dress code of Islamic law.
Amini, from Suggez in the northwestern province of Kurdistan, fell unconscious after being arrested and was taken to hospital, where he died three days later on September 13. Protests sparked by his death intensified. This was the biggest demonstration since 2019, when 1,500 people died protesting the rise in the price of petrol.
The authorities denied that they attacked Amini saying that the cause of death was “acute heart failure”, possibly due to a pre-existing medical condition. But her family denies that the 22-year-old Amini has any health problems.
Amini has stayed away from politics, only looking out for himself, said two people close to the family. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, many people tend to choose this way of life to avoid trouble.
But when Amini came to the capital Tehran with her family to visit her uncle, she paid a heavy price for not paying attention to the details of her outfit.
She was arrested in the evening shortly after she stepped off at the station.
The moral police, organized to enforce Iran’s conservative dress code in order to “promote virtue and forbid vice”, suddenly confronted Amini.
These units, which typically consist of male and female police officers in vans, wait in crowded public places to crack down on illegal behavior and uniforms.
What is her sin? I was wearing tight pants.
Amini and her brother begged forgiveness for being unfamiliar with such rules in Tehran. She begged her brother not to be taken away by the police.
Amini’s brother waited for her in front of the Bozara Morality Police Station. An ambulance arrived two hours later. Amini was taken to Kasra Hospital.
The hospital gave no explanation to Amini’s family. Her body was covered in the autopsy room, and her father could only see part of her bruised leg.
“He kept asking doctors to tell him what was going on with his daughter, but no one answered,” said the source.
A woman who was arrested with her told Amini’s father that she was attacked in the van she was being taken to. She was crying and pleading for her release.
“The police told the father that the cameras in the van were not working, so the family do not know what happened in the van or in the detention centre,” said a family source.
“The family do not believe the footage released by the authorities of her suddenly collapsing inside the police station. They believe the footage was edited.”
In an instant, she was robbed of her dreams of graduating college and one day getting married and having children.
“She wanted a normal, happy life.” One of the people involved apologized.
The President of Iran, Raisi, has said that he has ordered an investigation into the Amini case.
Authorities said 41 people, including police and security forces, were killed in the protests. Human rights groups in Iran have announced even higher death tolls.
Amini’s sudden death sparked outrage around the world, while the Iranian government accused the “terrorists” of being “foreign enemies”. The government has accused the United States and some European countries of using the incident to destabilize the Iranian regime.
Away from these political movements, Amini’s family tries to find out the truth behind her death.
Her mother argued that Amini’s hijab was appropriate. During the funeral, she repeatedly said, “Why, why. My daughter was wearing the hijab correctly and her coat was long and black. I don’t know why she was arrested.”
“Where is my daughter? Where are my children?”
According to an Instagram post from the hospital, Amini was already brain dead when he arrived at the hospital. This statement has since been removed.
“After resuscitation, her heart started beating again and it was decided that she would be sent to the intensive care unit,” the hospital said.
“Unfortunately, 48 hours later on Friday, she suffered another cardiac arrest due to brain death. Despite the best efforts of the medical team, she was unable to be revived and she died.”
Iranian authorities have told Amini’s relatives not to discuss the matter, according to family sources. Calls to his father, mother and uncle’s mobile phones went unanswered.