By: Nessa Purdy
On Oct. 1, 16 year-old Armita Geravand collapsed after entering a metro train in Tehran. Geravand was allegedly violating the compulsory nation-wide hijab rules.According to a Kurdish human rights activism group, Hengaw, Geravand suffered “a severe physical assault” by Iran’s morality police. Footage of the event depicts a girl carrying Geravand’s unconscious body from the train car onto the platform. Iran’s morality police are an Islamic police force assigned to enforce religious law, specifically women’s dress code.
The released footage does not show inside the train or the time between Geravand entering the train car and the two women carrying her out unconscious. However, the footage led to accusations from Hengaw that two officers violently beat her into a coma for non-compliance.
Iran’s official news outlet Fars published a statement from Geravand’s parents, in which her father states, “We have checked all the videos and it has been proven for us that this incident was an accident.” However, Iran’s authorities have released forced interviews in the past, leading to the belief that they coerced Geravend’s parents into making the video.
Iranian police are restricting access to the hospital that is treating Geravand, arresting one journalist who attempted to enter the hospital to cover the story. Geravand’s condition is not certain, yet one image posted by Hengaw on the social media platform X depicted Geravand connected to a breathing tube and with a bandaged head.
Activist groups are drawing parallels between this incident and the death of Mahsa Amini in September of 2022. Morality police officers arrested Amini for improperly wearing her hijab; shortly after morality police officers took her into custody, footage shows her collapsing. Witnesses claimed the officers beat Amini until she fell into a coma; she later died in the hospital. Authorities stated a neurological disorder caused Amini’s death, yet her family does not accept this explanation because Iranian officials denied them a post-mortem examination.
Protests following Amini’s death are only growing after Hengaw’s accusations as activists highlight striking similarities between Amini’s death and the incident with Geravand. Recent demonstrations are still taking place, and many women are taking their hijabs off in protest of the government’s mandate. The ongoing protests raise questions about the status of women’s rights in Iran and the continuous violence of the morality police.
(Sources: BBC, The Guardian, Wikipedia)