The father of an Iranian woman who died in police custody last week has accused Iranian authorities of lying about his daughter’s death, amid protests raging across the country despite the government’s attempt to quell the demonstrations with a power outage. Internet.
Amjad Amini, whose daughter Mahsa died after being arrested in the country’s capital, Tehran, by the morality police, said doctors refused to let him see his daughter after her death.
Iranian officials claimed she died after suffering a “heart attack” and falling into a coma, but her family said she had no pre-existing heart problems, according to Emtedad News, an Iranian pro-reform media outlet. Public skepticism over the authorities’ account of the young woman’s death sparked a wave of anger that spilled over into deadly protests.
“They are lying. They are telling lies. Everything is a lie… no matter how much I begged, they wouldn’t let me see my daughter,” Amjad Amini told BBC Persia on Wednesday (21).
When he saw his daughter’s body before the funeral, she was completely wrapped up except for her feet and face – although he did notice bruises on her feet. “I have no idea what they did to her,” he said.
THE CNN was unable to independently verify his allegations with hospital staff.
Security camera footage released by Iranian state media showed Mahsa Amini collapsing at a “re-education” center, where she was taken by morality police to receive “guidance” about her attire.
His death sparked a wave of anger that snowballed to include issues ranging from freedoms in the Islamic Republic to the crippling economic impacts of sanctions.
Protests and deadly clashes with police erupted in towns and cities across Iran, despite attempts by authorities to contain the spread of demonstrations through internet blackouts.
Mobile networks have largely been shut down and access to Instagram and Whatsapp restricted, internet watchdog NetBlocks said Wednesday night. A second loss of “national scale” connectivity in Iran was reported by NetBlocks on Thursday.
There was a near-total disruption to internet access in parts of Iran’s western Kurdistan province as of Monday night and regional blackouts in other parts of the country, including Sanandaj and Tehran.
This comes after Iran’s communications minister warned that there could be internet outages “for security purposes and discussions related to recent events,” according to ISNA, the country’s semi-official news agency.
The last time Iran saw such a severe blackout was when authorities tried to quell mass protests in late 2019 after fuel prices soared by as much as 300%.
At the time, Iran went almost entirely offline – what Oracle’s Internet Intelligence called “the biggest internet shutdown ever observed in Iran”.
This week, several websites of the Iranian state government – including the official websites of the president and the Central Bank of Iran – also went offline, with the hacking collective Anonymous taking responsibility.
“(Greetings) Citizens of Iran. This is a message from Anonymous to all of Iran. We are here and we are with you,” a social media account affiliated with the group tweeted on Tuesday.
“We support your determination for peace against brutality and massacres. We know that his determination does not stem from revenge, but from his desire for justice. All tyrants will fall before your courage. Long live free Iranian women.”
The hacking collective also took responsibility for temporarily taking down the website of Iran’s government-aligned Fars news agency Wednesday morning, according to a tweet by Anonymous. Since then, the site has come back online.
Growing fury for deadly clashes
At least eight people, including a teenager, have been killed in recent days due to clashes in the protests, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
At least four of those eight “died from injuries sustained by security forces firing metal bullets at close range,” Amnesty said in a report published on Wednesday.
Four other people were shot by security forces, Amnesty said, citing sources in Iran. The organization added that eyewitness accounts and video analysis show a pattern of “Iranian security forces illegally and repeatedly firing metal projectiles directly at protesters”.
Riot police were deployed to disperse protesters on Wednesday night in the capital Tehran and were seen arresting several people, according to eyewitnesses who declined to be named for security reasons.
Riot police launched tear gas, with a “heavy crackdown” near the University of Tehran, an eyewitness said.
Another eyewitness 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 anyone who killed my sister”, referring to Amini.
Videos of protests across the country show people smashing posters of the Supreme Leader and women burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in a symbolic display of defiance and provocation.
THE CNN contacted the police and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which joined the riot police Wednesday night in Tehran, for comment on the cases.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard issued a warning to protesters in a statement on Thursday and asked the judiciary to identify those responsible for spreading “rumors” on social media.
The Guard accused the protesters of “riots” and “vandalism” and called on the police to “protect the security of the nation”.
Meanwhile, the Fars news agency reported on Thursday that two members of the Iranian paramilitary organization Basij – a voluntary paramilitary group linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – were killed separately during protests in Iranian provinces.
“Ruggers” stabbed a Basij member in Tabriz, the capital of Iran’s northwest East Azerbaijan province, Fars reported. State-owned Al Alam said another Basij member was killed in Qazvin province.
A propaganda-style video titled “When the Basij Enters,” published by Fars on Thursday, allegedly showed Basij members on motorcycles clearing barricades and detaining men on the street. The video does not specify a location or a date.
Activists and international leaders have also expressed concern about the protests and alleged police violence.
Sweden’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Sweden is mourning the Iranians over Amini and demanded that the authorities respect their right to peaceful protest. Germany also urged the Iranian authorities to “allow peaceful demonstrations and above all no further violence”, during a press conference on Wednesday.
British Foreign Minister Tariq Ahmad said the UK was “extremely concerned by reports of serious mistreatment of Amini and many others by the security forces”.
“The use of violence in response to the expression of fundamental rights, by women or any other members of Iranian society, is totally unjustifiable,” he said in a statement.
Source: CNN Brasil