HIJAB VIOLATION: Iran’s morality police allegedly torture Armita Geravand, 16, into coma

CCTV footage released by authorities shows a girl being pulled unconscious from the metro train.—IRNA

A 16-year-old Iranian girl named Armita Geravand is in critical condition following an alleged altercation regarding her hijab, according to reports from activists.

The girl is currently in a hospital, in precarious condition, as she slipped into a coma after a purported encounter with authorities in Tehran’s metro for breaching hijab regulations.

This case has prompted fears that Geravand may meet a similar fate to Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who tragically passed away while in a coma in the custody of morality police last year, igniting months of nationwide protests.

Authorities have refuted claims from human rights organisations, contending that Geravand fell into a coma on Sunday due to an altercation with officers enforcing the Islamic dress code.

Nonetheless, the Iranian-Kurdish rights group Hengaw published a photograph of her unconscious state in a Tehran hospital, where she was admitted following the incident. The Iranian interior ministry has not yet responded to requests for comments regarding the incident.

“We are closely monitoring her case. She remains in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, and her condition is critical… her relatives have noted a significant presence of plainclothes individuals at the hospital,” disclosed one of the activists based in Iran. 

The second activist reported that security forces have prohibited Geravand’s parents from sharing her photo on social media or engaging with human rights organisations. Both activists chose to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity surrounding the matter.

CCTV footage, disseminated on IRNA, revealed Geravand and two female friends without the obligatory hijab as they walked towards the train from the metro platform. Upon entering the cabin, one of the girls abruptly retreated and reached for the ground, while another girl was pulled unconscious from the cabin by fellow passengers. The authenticity of this footage could not be immediately verified.

Masoud Dorosti, the head of the Tehran Metro Operating Company, stated to IRNA that the CCTV footage showed no signs of verbal or physical altercations between passengers or employees.

On Monday, an Iranian journalist was briefly detained when attempting to inquire about Geravand’s condition at the hospital, as reported by Iranian media.

“Iranian security institutions have attributed her condition to low blood pressure—a scenario often cited by such institutions,” shared the Iran-based rights group Dadban on social media.

In a video published on the state news agency IRNA, Geravand’s parents mentioned that their daughter had experienced a drop in blood pressure, lost her balance, and hit her head in the metro cabin. “I believe my daughter’s blood pressure dropped, though I’m not entirely certain. I believe they mentioned her pressure dropped,” her mother stated, adding that it was unnecessary to fuel controversy. 

However, rights groups on social media have called for the release of the cabin’s interior footage, alleging that her parents’ statement was made under duress.

Germany’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, expressed her concern on the social media platform X, saying, “Once again, a young woman in #Iran is fighting for her life, simply because she showed her hair in the subway. It is unbearable. The parents of #ArmitaGarawand deserve to be at their daughter’s bedside, not in front of cameras.”

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