Iranian Woman Brain Dead After Being Arrested, Allegedly Beaten By Morality Police for not Wearing Hijab

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A 22-year-old Iranian woman has been declared brain dead just hours after reports spread that she was beaten and arrested by morality police in Tehran for not complying with the country's mandatory hijab rules.

According to reports published on social networks, Mahsa Amini had traveled from the western Iranian province of Kurdistan to Tehran to meet relatives when she was arrested on September 13.

Eyewitnesses Reported Seeing Amini Being Beaten inside Morality Police Van

Mahsa Amini
Mahsa Amini Twitter

Eyewitnesses at the scene told journalists that Amini appeared to have been beaten inside the morality police van while being taken to the detention center, though she was conscious. A few hours after her arrest, her family was informed that Amini had been hospitalized.

The media center of the Tehran Police Department denied the eyewitness claims of beating Amini, saying she was transferred to one of the police departments in Tehran for "justification and education" about the hijab when she "suddenly suffered a heart problem."

Kiarash Amini, Mahsa's brother, said in an interview with the Iranwire news website that doctors told him they had diagnosed Mahsa as having had either a heart attack or a stroke, "and that while her heart was still beating, her brain is no longer conscious."

Puran Nazimi, a human rights activist, challenged Iranian authorities to release security camera footage to prove they didn't beat Amini.

Iranian Women Violently Punished for Not Following Hijab Rules

Authorities in Iran are increasingly cracking down on women deemed to be in violation of wearing the hijab, which is mandatory in public in Iran. In recent weeks, women judged not to be in compliance have been barred from entering government offices, banks, or riding on public transportation.

The notorious Guidance Patrols, or morality police, have become increasingly active and violent. Videos have emerged on social media appearing to show officers detaining women, forcing them into vans, and whisking them away. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Iranian government intends to use facial recognition to enforce the hijab law.

In July, authorities arrested a 28-year-old Sepideh Rashno after a video circulated on social media of her being berated for improper dress by a fellow passenger. Hrana, a human rights group, claimed Rashno was beaten after the arrest and forced to apologise on television to the passenger who harassed her.

The hijab -- the head covering worn by Muslim women -- became compulsory in public for Iranian women and girls over the age of 9 after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Many Iranian women have flouted the rule over the years and pushed the boundaries of what officials say is acceptable clothing.