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Three people killed in Iran protests over death of Mahsa Amini

21 Sep 2022 By theguardian

Three people killed in Iran protests over death of Mahsa Amini

Iranian government officials have denounced a fourth day of protests after the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in police custody, claiming the demonstrators have fallen victim to a conspiracy by its enemies.

Mahsa Amini died on Friday after she was arrested by the morality police for not wearing the hijab and her trousers correctly, a tragic episode that has unleashed fury in the streets against the unaccountable and sometimes brutal treatment handed out to women by this branch of the police.

Three more people have died since the government launched a crackdown on demonstrations.

Local petitions have been started calling for the disbandment of the morality police, saying their actions enforcing the hijab are counterproductive and discriminatory.

The scale of the violence and the number of arrests on Monday night are hard to assess independently. However, videos of beatings and protests were posted on social media, including footage with the sound of gunfire.

It added that 221 people had been wounded and another 250 arrested in the Kurdistan region, where there had also been a general strike on Monday.

The controversy is sensitive for the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, who is currently in New York to address the UN general assembly for the first time. Human rights groups in New York are protesting against his presence and launching legal actions against him.

Although Raisi has ordered an investigation and expressed his personal sympathy, his critics say his earlier support for a more interventionist morality police has exposed a cultural division inside Iran.

The regime is determined to argue that she died in police custody not due to any beating but as a result of a pre-existing brain condition, and an operation conducted when she was five. CT scans of her brain released by the hospital have become the subject of medical dispute, with government supporters citing neurologists claiming they show the psychological stress was caused by the previous brain operation, and its critics claiming they show signs of a physical beating and trauma. The official government news site said it could take three weeks for the inquiry to reach a conclusion.

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