‘Dear Mahsa, your name will become a symbol’: Iranians upset by death of 22-year-old woman

“Dear Mahsa, your name will become a symbol”, proclaims Sunday, under the photo of her grave, the front page of the economic newspaper Asia, like a large part of the Iranian press shocked by the death of the young woman arrested by the police of the mores.

This police unit, responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code for women, including the compulsory wearing of the headscarf in public, has been criticized several times in recent months for violent interventions.

Originally from the Kurdistan region (north-west), Mahsa Amini, aged 22, was arrested on Tuesday while she was in Tehran visiting with her family. She died Friday in hospital after three days in a coma.

On Thursday, Tehran police said she was arrested along with other women to receive “instructions” on dress rules. “She suddenly suffered from a heart problem (…) and was immediately taken to hospital.”

“Unfortunately, she died and her body has been transferred to the forensic institute,” state television said on Friday.

The young woman was buried on Saturday in her hometown, Saghez, where angry residents threw stones at the governor’s seat and shouted slogans hostile to the authorities.

On Sunday, almost all of the press devoted their front page and entire pages to this tragedy.

“Social fracture”

“The public is shocked and angry by what happened to Mahsa Amini,” notes the reformist newspaper Etemad: the nation has witnessed “repeatedly the violence of the morality police”.

The moderate newspaper Jomhouri Eslami warns of the “social fracture” caused by the “violent behavior” of police officers.

But the daily Iran (government), accuses the reformers “of exploiting the emotions of the people by using an unfortunate incident to turn the nation against the government and the president”.

For the ultra-conservative newspaper Kayhan, “the volume of rumors and lies raised after Mahsa’s death has increased considerably”.

“However, the publication of the images of this incident by the police confused the opportunists who wanted to use this incident”, indicates the newspaper.

He is referring to a short surveillance video broadcast by state television showing a woman portrayed as Mahsa collapsing in police premises after a discussion with a female officer.

Tehran police said “there was no physical contact” between police officers and the young woman. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has called for an investigation to be opened.

“The nation has expressed its sorrow over the sad death of Mahsa,” wrote the ultra-conservative Javan newspaper.

1.5 million tweets

Many filmmakers, artists, sports, political and religious figures have expressed their anger on social networks.

Former president and leader of the reformist current Mohammad Khatami called on the authorities to “stop actions contrary to law, logic and Sharia” and to “bring to justice the perpetrators of the incident” .

Grand Ayatollah Assadollah Bayat Zanjani denounced as “illegitimate” and “illegal” all the “behaviors and events” at the origin of “this unfortunate and regrettable incident”.

“The Koran clearly prevents the faithful from using force to impose the values ​​they consider religious and moral,” he said.

Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, winner of two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, observed that “Mahsa today is more alive than us” because “we are asleep, unresponsive to this endless cruelty, we are complicit in this crime” .

“Our daughters’ hair is covered with a shroud,” several players from the national football team wrote in a joint Instagram story.

“If they are Muslims, may God make me an infidel,” said Bayer Leverkusen striker Sardar Azmoun.

On Twitter, the hashtag #Mahsa_Amini in Persian was No. 1 trending Sunday noon with nearly 1.5 million tweets.

During a telephone conversation Sunday evening with the Amini family, President Raïsi “assured that he would continue the investigation until the clarification of the case”, according to a press release from the presidency.

“Your daughter is like my own daughter and I feel like this incident happened to someone close to me,” he said, according to the same source.


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