An Iranian teenager who was reportedly assaulted by state morality police for not wearing a mandatory hijab is now ‘brain dead’, state media say.
Armita Geravand, 16, fell into a coma earlier this month after she sustained ‘severe injuries’ following a ‘physical assault’ by female morality police officers on the Tehran metro, according to a human rights group.
Hengaw, a Norway-based Kurdish human rights NGO, claimed that Armita was attacked by hijab officers in Shohada Station, a stop on the city’s metro, for allegedly not wearing a hijab, which all women in Iran are meant to wear under strict morality laws.
The teenager is being treated at Tehran’s Fajr hospital under tight security.
‘Follow-ups on the latest health condition of Geravand indicate that her condition of being brain dead seems certain despite the efforts of the medical staff,’ state media reported.
Armita Geravand, 16, who was reportedly assaulted by state morality police for not wearing a mandatory hijab is now ‘brain dead’
Armita fell into a coma earlier this month after she sustained ‘severe injuries’ following an alleged ‘physical assault’ by female morality police officers on the Tehran metro
Armita’s case has raised concerns the 16-year-old might face the same fate as Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman whose death in a coma last year in the custody of morality police sparked months of nationwide protest.
Unverified CCTV footage, shared to local media earlier this month, appears to show the teenager walking towards the train without a hijab on with two of her friends.
Upon entering the cabin, one of the girls is seen immediately backing off and reaching for the ground, before another girl is dragged unconscious from the cabin by passengers.
Several passengers can be seen gathering round to watch the girl be carried off.
Hengaw later shared a photo of a young girl lying in a hospital bed with several pieces of medical equipment attached to her, claiming it was an image of Armita.
A source told an Iranian news agency that she was ‘brought into hospital in a comatose state’ and needed CPR as she had either ceased breathing or her heart had stopped.
Authorities denied that this was a case of state abuse against yet another young woman.
The head of the Tehran Metro Operating Company, Masoud Dorosti, said the CCTV footage showed no sign of verbal or physical conflict between passengers or company employees.
She was taken off the train by her friends and several passengers
Several more passengers began crowding around her after she was removed from the train
‘There were no verbal or physical altercations between the student and passengers or metro personnel. Rumours about a confrontation between metro personnel and the student are baseless and are contradicted by metro security footage,’ he said.
Armita’s parents publicly stated that their daughter had suffered a drop in blood pressure, lost her balance, and hit her head inside the metro cabin.
‘I think my daughter’s blood pressure dropped, I am not too sure, I think they have said her pressure dropped,’ her mother said. But she added that there was no point in creating controversy.
But several activists, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity claim Iran has applied heavy pressure on her parents.
‘Her relatives said there is a heavy presence of plain clothes at the hospital,’ one of the activists in Iran said.
The second activist said security forces had forbidden Armita’s parents from posting her picture on social media or from talking to human rights groups.
An Iranian journalist investigating the incident was arrested and held by authorities for several hours after she made inquiries at the hospital.
Major world figures condemned Iran for the incident.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on X, formerly Twitter, said: ‘Once again a young woman in #Iran is fighting for her life. Just because she showed her hair in the subway. It is unbearable.
‘The parents of #ArmitaGarawand do not belong in front of cameras, but have the right to be at their daughter’s bedside.’
150 people have been killed and hundreds injured during the regimes crack down on protests
Protests have swept Iran since Amini’s death in police custody
Mahsa Amini was on a visit to the Iranian capital with her family when she was detained by the special police unit that enforces the strict dress rules for women, including the compulsory headscarf.
Her brother Kiaresh said at the time that while he was waiting outside the police station for her to be released, an ambulance drove out taking her to hospital.
He was told that she was in a comatose state after she suffered a heart attack and a brain seizure.
Mahsa later died of her injuries, but Iran denied involvement in her death, claiming that she had died from multiple organ failure caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.
Nearly 80 people died over 11 nights of violent unrest across the country last September after Iran’s citizens called for the death of the current leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after news of her death spread.