Iran’s morality police accused of 'beating 16-year-old girl into a coma’

Iran’s morality police accused of 'beating 16-year-old girl into a coma’
2 min read
04 October, 2023
Armita Garawand was reportedly attacked by Iran's morality police on the Tehran Metro and beaten into a coma for not complying with strict hijab laws.
Armita Garawand was hospitalized after she was reportedly beaten by police on Tehran's metro on Sunday [Getty]

Rights groups and activists have accused Iran’s morality police of beating a 16-year-old girl into a coma on the Tehran Metro last Sunday.

Armita Garawand, a Kurdish-Iranian, was "physically attacked by authorities" for not complying with the country's compulsory hijab laws, according to the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights.  

Hengaw also said that due to her ‘severe injuries’, Armita had to be taken to hospital. She has been in a coma since October 3.  

Iranian state-run media has since denied allegations that Armita was physically assaulted and state-run news outlets have released edited footage of the incident.

Tehran Metro authorities said that the girl fainted due to low blood pressure. 

Hengaw posted a picture purportedly showing her unconscious at a Tehran hospital where she was taken after the incident.

In the shorter, cropped footage published by state-run media, only the exterior angle of the train is highlighted.

Armita can be seen walking towards the train then being carried out by those who were allegedly referred to as friends. The low quality of the video does not indicate if the girl wore a specific type of hijab or none. 

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State-run news agency Fars  conducted an interview with the girl’s parents,  who stated that their daughter was not attacked.

“We have checked all the videos and it has been proven to us that this incident was an accident. We request people to pray for our child’s recovery,” her father said. 

However, Hengaw reported that a source had alerted the organisation that there has been an ‘extensive presence’ of security forces at Fajr Hospital, where all visits to Armita, including by her immediate family, had been prohibited.

Maryam Lotfi, a journalist from Shargh newspaper, was detained by security forces after visiting the medical centre. She was released hours later, after the incident was publicised.

The reported incident took place just over a year after mass protests broke out in Iran over the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who like Garawand was a Kurdish-Iranian.