Armita Geravand — an Iranian teenager who was severely injured after an alleged altercation with Iran’s morality police earlier this month — has died, the state-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, she went into a coma for some time after suffering from brain damage,” IRNA said in a statement. “She died a few minutes ago.”
Geravand collapsed after boarding a train. Authorities said she fainted, but human rights groups said she was attacked by morality police.
Geravand, 16, fell into a coma and was taken to Tehran Air Force’s Fajr Hospital, where she remained “under strict security measures,” according to the Norway-based Hengaw Organization for Human Rights.
Video circulating online appears to show the young student bravely walking around the subway station with her head uncovered, as a show of “resistance to forced hijab,” Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and activist, wrote on social media.
“She’s a hero,” Alinejad said.
Geravand’s death comes just a year after the death of another young woman in a hospital in Tehran.
Masha Amini, 22, was arrested by Iran’s morality police on Sep. 13, 2022, and died while in detention three days later. U.S. authorities said she was accused of “improperly wearing a hijab in compliance with religiously grounded laws.”
The circumstances of Geravand’s fatal encounter with authorities drew comparisons to that of Amini, whose death sparked months of violent demonstrations across Iran, which were met with a “deadly crackdown,” according to Amnesty International.
On Saturday, the Hengaw Organization said Garavand was “another victim of mandatory hijab and government murder in Iran.”
“Armita’s voice has been forever silenced, preventing us from hearing her story,” the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said in a statement. “Yet we do know that in a climate where Iranian authorities severely penalize women and girls for not adhering to the state’s forced-hijab law, Armita courageously appeared in public without one.”
By doing so, Geravand “stood in solidarity with the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement, which was sparked by the killing of Mahsa Jina Amini.”
Last month, the Iranian parliament passed on a 152-34 vote a new “hijab and chastity” bill, which imposes prison terms of up to 10 years for women and girls who break the Islamic nation’s strict dress code.
With News Wire Services