Mahsa Amini’s father says Iranian authorities lied about her death, angering protests




CNN

The father of an Iranian woman who died in police custody last week has accused authorities of lying about her death, as protests continue across the country despite government efforts to quell dissent with an internet blackout.

Amjad Amini, whose daughter Mahsa died after being arrested in Tehran by the morality police, said doctors refused to let him see his daughter after her death.

Iranian officials said he died after suffering a “heart attack” and falling into a coma, but his family said he had no prior heart disease, according to Emtedad news, Iran’s pro-reform media. Officials’ public skepticism about his death has fueled anger that has spilled into deadly protests.

“They are lying. They are telling lies. It’s all a lie…even though I begged, they wouldn’t let me see my daughter,” Amjad Amini told BBC Persia on Wednesday.

When he saw his daughter’s body on his way to her funeral, it was completely covered except for her feet and face, although he noticed bruises on her feet. “I don’t know what they did to him,” he said.

CNN was unable to verify her account with hospital officials.

CCTV footage released by Iranian state media showed Mahsa Amini being dropped off at a “re-education” center where she was taken by morality police to receive “orientation” on her dress code.

His death has sparked outrage over issues ranging from freedoms in the Islamic republic to the severe economic impact of sanctions.

Protests and deadly clashes with police have broken out in Iran’s towns and cities, despite efforts by authorities to halt the spread of the demonstrations through internet blackouts.

Mobile networks have been largely shut down and access to Instagram and Whatsapp has been restricted, internet watchdog Netblocks said on Wednesday afternoon.

Internet access was almost completely disrupted in parts of Iran’s western Kurdistan province as of Monday evening, with regional blackouts in other parts of the country, including Sanandaj and Tehran.

It comes after Iran’s communications minister warned of possible internet outages “for security purposes and discussions related to recent events,” according to the country’s semi-official ISNA news agency.

The last time Iran saw such a severe blackout was in late 2019 when authorities tried to contain mass protests after a 300% hike in fuel prices.

At the time, Iran was almost completely taken offline – in what Oracle’s Internet Intelligence called “the largest internet blackout ever seen in Iran”.

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

On the 21st of September in Tehran (Iran) dozens of people demonstrated against the death of Mahsa Amini.

“(Goodbye) Iranian citizens. This is a message from Anonymous to all of Iran. We are here and we are with you,” a social media account linked to the group tweeted on Tuesday.

“We support the decision in favor of peace against the incident and massacres. We know that your decision is not motivated by revenge, but by a desire for justice. All tyrants will fall before your courage. Long live the free women of Iran.”

The hacker collective also claimed responsibility for temporarily taking down the website of Iran’s Fars state media news agency early Wednesday morning, according to a tweet by Anonymous. The website has since been brought back online.

Violent repression is not slowing protests against Iran’s moral policing

At least eight people have been there, including a teenager dead in the last few days because of the clashes during the protests, according to the human rights group Amnesty International.

Of those eight, at least four “died of wounds sustained from long-range metal fire by security forces,” Amnesty said in a report published on Wednesday.

Security forces shot another four, Amnesty said, citing Iranian sources. He added that eyewitness accounts and video analysis show a pattern of “Iranian security forces unlawfully and repeatedly firing metal balls directly at protesters.”

Riot police were mobilized to disperse protesters in the capital Tehran on Wednesday night, and were seen arresting several people, according to witnesses who did not want to be named for security reasons.

On September 20, a container burned in the middle of a crossroad during a protest in Tehran, Iran.

Riot police fired tear gas with “heavy-handed repression” near Tehran University, a witness said.

Another witness in the city’s eastern district said protesters were heard shouting “Death to the dictator”, a reference to Iran’s Supreme Leader, and “I kill whoever killed my sister”, referring to Amin.

Videos of protests across the country show people destroying posters of the supreme leader and women burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in a symbolic show of defiance.

CNN has reached out to police and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which joined riot police in Tehran on Wednesday night, for comment. They have not made any statements about the demonstrations or the handling of the protests by law enforcement.

International activists and leaders have also expressed concern over the protests and alleged police violence.

Sweden’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Sweden stands with Iranians in mourning Amini, and demanded that the authorities respect their right to peaceful protest. Germany also called on the Iranian authorities to “allow peaceful demonstrations and, above all, not to use more violence” at a press conference on Wednesday.

UK Foreign Office Minister Tariq Ahmad said Britain was “deeply concerned by reports of serious ill-treatment of Ms Amini and many others by security forces”.

“The use of violence in response to the declaration of fundamental rights, by women or any other member of Iranian society, is completely unjustifiable,” the statement said.