Iranian activists accuse morality police of aggression after teenager hospitalized


Activists accused Iran’s moral police on Wednesday of assaulting a teenage girl for not wearing a headscarf in a Tehran metro station, leading to her hospitalization with serious injuries. But Iranian authorities and the teen’s parents said she was hospitalized due to low blood pressure.

A Norway-based group focused on Kurdish rights, the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, said 16-year-old Armita Geravand was “assaulted” by morality police and has been in a coma since Sunday. Another opposition network, IranWire, said it had obtained information that Geravand was admitted to hospital with a “head injury.”

“Before her arrival at Shohada metro station, moral police officers approached her and asked her to adjust her hijab. This request led to an altercation with the morality police physically attacking Armita. They pushed her, causing her to collapse,” Awyer Shekhi, a Hengaw staff member, told CNN.

“After this confrontation, he managed to enter the subway but collapsed later,” Shekhi added.

CNN was unable to verify the information published by Hengaw and Iranwire, who have extensively covered the Iranian protests in the past.

However, the general director of Tehran Metro told state media that there was no physical or verbal interaction between Geravand and his staff members. “According to our investigation, after reviewing the CCTV footage from the moment she entered the station and boarded the train, there was no verbal or physical altercation between the passengers with them or our staff. There was nothing recorded in the videos,” Tehran Metro General Director Masoud Dorosti told state media.

In a video posted on the X account of the state-affiliated Fars news agency, formerly known as Twitter, a group of girls are seen entering the subway train. CNN cannot identify which girl in the video was Geravand.

Some of the girls who entered with Geravand seemed not to be wearing a veil. Moments later, the video continues to show a group of girls taking Geravand off the subway train and placing her on the subway platform as the subway leaves the station, the video shows.

No altercation is seen in the edited video published in state media. CNN has not been able to confirm its authenticity.

Geravand’s mother and father told state media in an interview that their daughter appeared to hit her head after fainting from low blood pressure while walking to school. The parents said there were no signs in the videos they saw that Geravand was assaulted.

“I think they said she had low blood pressure… drop in blood pressure or she had fallen to the ground… her head hit the edge of the subway and then (her friends) pulled her out (of the train),” he said. his mother Shahin Ahmadi.

“We checked the cameras. She went there…I’m not sure…one of the girls was in front of her and one was behind her. She got on the train and fell… I don’t know… what happened… if she was unconscious… she fainted… they took her out and called the emergency services. Then they took her to the hospital,” said her father, Ahmad Garavand.

It is unclear whether Geravand’s family was forced to speak to state media. In the past, U.N. human rights officials and human rights groups have accused Iranian authorities of pressuring the families of slain protesters to make statements supporting the government’s narrative.

CNN has contacted the Iranian government for comment.

The teenager is currently being treated in a Tehran hospital, Fars news agency reported. IranWire reports that he is being treated at Fajr Air Force Hospital, in a separate statement released Wednesday.

Iran was besieged by protests following the case of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died in custody after being arrested by Iran’s morality police last year for allegedly wearing her hijab inappropriately. Amini’s death sparked protests across the country.

More than 300 people also died in months-long protests, including more than 40 children, the UN said in November last year. The US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) in January estimated the death toll at more than 500, including 70 children. Thousands of people were arrested across the country, the UN said in a June report, citing research published last year by its Human Rights Committee.

A journalist from the pro-reform Iranian outlet Shargh Daily had gone to Fajr Air Force Hospital to report on Geravand’s condition when she was arrested on Tuesday, according to a Shargh Daily post on X, formerly known as Twitter. The reporter, Maryam Lotfi, has since been released, the outlet reported.

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