Mahsa Amini’s father says Iranian authorities lied about her death as protests raged



CNN

The father of an Iranian woman who died in police custody last week accused authorities of lying about her death, with protests across the country despite the government’s attempt to stifle dissent by cutting off the internet.

Amjad Amini, whose daughter Mohassa died after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran, said that doctors refused to allow him to see his daughter after her death.

Iranian officials claimed she died after suffering a “heart attack” and in a coma, but her family said she did not suffer from heart disease, according to Extension News, a pro-reform Iranian media outlet. Public skepticism about the account of those responsible for her death sparked outrage, which spilled over into bloody protests.

“They lie. They lie. It’s all a lie… No matter how I beg, they won’t let me see my daughter,” Amjad Amini told BBC Persia on Wednesday.

When he saw his daughter’s body leading to her funeral it was completely wrapped except for her feet and face – though he noticed bruises on her feet. “I have no idea what they did to her,” he said.

CNN was unable to independently verify his account with hospital officials.

Television footage published by Iranian state media showed Mahsa Amini falling into a “re-education” center where the morality police took her to receive “instructions” about her clothes.

Her death sparked an outpouring of anger that escalated to cover issues ranging from freedoms in the Islamic Republic to the crippling economic effects of the sanctions.

Protests and bloody clashes with police erupted in towns and cities across Iran, despite attempts by the authorities to curb the spread of the demonstrations by cutting off the internet.

Internet watchdog Netblocks said Wednesday evening that mobile networks have largely shut down and access to Instagram and Whatsapp has been restricted.

There was a near-total blackout of internet access in parts of Iran’s western Kurdistan region as of Monday evening, and regional power outages in other parts of the country including Sanandaj and Tehran.

This comes after Iran’s Communications Minister warned of possible internet disruptions “for security purposes and discussions related to recent events,” according to the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency.

The last time Iran experienced such a severe blackout was when the authorities tried to contain mass protests in late 2019, after fuel prices rose by as much as 300%.

At the time, Iran’s internet connection was almost completely cut off – what Oracle’s Internet Intelligence company called “the largest internet shutdown ever observed in Iran”.

This week, several Iranian government websites – including the official websites of the president and the Central Bank of Iran – were offline, with the hacker group Anonymous claiming responsibility.

Dozens staged a demonstration to protest the killing of Mahsa Amini in Tehran, Iran, on September 21.

(Greetings) Citizens of Iran. This is an anonymous message to all of Iran. We are here and we are with you,” a social media account affiliated with the group tweeted on Tuesday.

We support your determination to make peace against brutality and massacre. We know that your determination does not stem from revenge, but from your yearning for justice. All tyrants will fall before your courage. Long live the free Iranian woman.”

The hacker group also took responsibility for the temporary shutdown of Iran’s state media news agency Fars early Wednesday morning, according to a tweet from Anonymous. The site has since been back online.

Violent repression does not slow down protest against Iran’s morality police

It was at least eight people, including a teenager He was killed in the last few days Amnesty International said the clashes that took place in the protests.

Amnesty International said in a report published on Wednesday that at least four of those eight “died from injuries sustained as a result of security forces firing metal spheres at close range”.

Amnesty said, citing sources in Iran, that four others were shot dead by security forces. It added that eyewitness accounts and video analyzes show a pattern of “Iranian security forces illegally and repeatedly firing metal pellets directly at protesters.”

Riot police were mobilized to disperse the demonstrators on Wednesday evening in the capital, Tehran, and were seen arresting several people, according to eyewitnesses who asked not to be named for safety reasons.

Ben burns amid an intersection during a demonstration in Tehran, Iran, on September 20.

An eyewitness said riot police deployed tear gas in a “violent campaign” near Tehran University.

Another eyewitness in the city’s eastern neighborhood said protesters were heard chanting “Death to the dictator” in reference to Iran’s Supreme Leader, and “Kill anyone who killed my sister,” referring to Amini.

Videos from protests across the country show people destroying posters of the Supreme Leader, and women burning their headscarves and cutting their hair in a symbolic display of defiance.

CNN has reached out to the police and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who joined forces with riot police on Wednesday evening in Tehran, for comment. They did not issue any statement about the demonstrations or about the law enforcement authorities’ handling of the protests.

Activists and international leaders have also expressed concern about the protests and alleged police violence.

The Swedish Foreign Minister said, on Wednesday, that Sweden stands with the Iranians in mourning for Amini, and called on the authorities to respect their right to peaceful demonstration. Germany also called on the Iranian authorities to “allow peaceful demonstrations and, above all, not use any other violent acts” during a press conference on Wednesday.

Britain’s foreign minister, Tariq Ahmed, said Britain was “deeply concerned about reports of serious mistreatment of Ms. Amini, and many others, by security forces”.

“The use of violence in response to the expression of basic rights, by women or any other member of Iranian society, is totally unjustified,” the statement said.

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