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Iranian teen assaulted by police has “no hope of recovery”

by Yucatan Times
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An Iranian teenager who was left in a coma after what activists described as an assault by police on the Tehran metro has no hope of recovery, her father has said.

The Kurdish-focused Hengaw rights group published a statement by the family of Armita Geravand, 16, after Iranian state media said that she was now “likely brain-dead” following the early October incident.

Iran has vehemently denied accusations that Geravand was badly injured during an altercation on the Tehran metro with female officers who had apprehended her for allegedly flouting strict dress rules for women.

Authorities say the teenager collapsed due to low blood pressure.

In this image from surveillance video aired by Iranian state television, women pull 16-year-old Armita Geravand from a train car on the Tehran Metro in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 1, 2023. / Credit: AP Photo/Iranian state television

“Armita’s medical team has informed us that her brain is no longer functioning, and there is no hope of recovery,” her father Bahman Geravand told the Norway-based Hengaw group on Sunday.

Hengaw said that the teen had not undergone any operations since being admitted to a hospital on Oct. 1 as her condition was deemed too fragile.

Geravand has remained in Fajr hospital in Tehran under what Hengaw and other sources have described as a tight security presence.

Hengaw reported earlier this month that Geravand’s mother had been arrested around the hospital area but was later released.  Neither the family nor any government officials would confirm or deny the arrest when contacted by CBS News.

Amnesty International earlier this month called for an independent investigation into what happened to Geravand, saying there was “mounting evidence of a cover-up by the authorities.”

Amnesty said it had analyzed footage published by Iranian media that purportedly shows there was no altercation and found that the footage has been edited, the frame rate increased and over three minutes of footage is missing.

Tehran metro managing director Masood Dorosti denied there was “any verbal or physical conflict” between Geravand and “passengers or metro staff.”

Iran’s official news agency IRNA later published interviews with two girls who said they were Geravand’s friends and confirmed the account.

Hengaw said all interviews with family and eyewitnesses of the incident published by state-controlled Iranian media “remain unverifiable.”

Amnesty said it had “serious concerns” that Geravand’s family and friends “have been forced to appear in propaganda videos and reiterate the state narrative under duress and threats of reprisals.”

Iranian journalist Maryam Lotfi was briefly detained after going to Fajr hospital to report on Geravand’s condition, according to her Shargh newspaper.

She is heavily guarded by Iranian security forces, and no media or visitors have been allowed in to see her — not even the young woman’s friends or family — since her parents were there on Oct. 1.

Echoes of Mahsa Amini case

Iran is wary of Geravand’s condition sparking unrest, after the September 2022 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly violating the dress code, triggered months of nationwide protests.

Iranian officials said she died of a heart attack, but her family told CBS News she was fatally beaten by the police after being arrested for wearing her mandatory hijab head covering incorrectly.

Amini’s death sent shockwaves across the country, triggering an unprecedented wave of anti-government protests. The demonstrations spread quickly, largely driven by young women demanding basic rights.

Women attend a protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died while in police custody in Iran, during a rally in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 29, 2022. / Credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit

Women burned their hijabs in the streets, despite a brutal response by Iran’s security forces. The chants evolved, calling not only for women’s rights but for the country’s elderly male Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to be ousted.

As the protests grew, the security forces cracked down more brutally on the demonstrators, shooting them with pellet guns and, in some cases, live ammunition.

Thousands of people were swept up in rounds of mass arrests, with many claiming harsh treatment in custody, including some who said they were tortured and sexually assaulted.

So far there has been no sign of protesters taking back to the streets over Geravand’s case.

TYT Newsroom

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