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Iran says Mahsa Amini died of illness rather than ‘blows’


PARIS: Iran said on Friday an inquest into death in custody Mahsa Amini found that she had lost her life to illness rather than being beaten up, causing three weeks of bloody protests.
Amini, 22, died on September 16, three days after falling into a coma after she was arrested by ethics police in Tehran for allegedly violating the republic’s strict dress code Islam for women.
Anger over her death has sparked the biggest wave of protests aimed at rocking Iran in nearly three years and a crackdown that has left dozens of protesters dead and many arrested.
Despite the deadly use of force by security forces, the women-led protests continued for 21 consecutive nights, according to online videos verified by AFP.
The Iranian Forensic Organization said on Friday that “Mahsa Amini’s death was not caused by blows to the head and vital organs and extremities of the body”.
The death of Amini, whose Kurdish first name is Jhina, was related to “brain tumor surgery at the age of 8,” it said in a statement.
Amini’s bereaved family has filed a complaint against the officers involved, and one of her cousins ​​living in Iraq told AFP she died of “a violent blow to the head”.
Other young girls have been killed in the protests, but Amnesty International said Iran forced their families to confess on television to “exempt their deaths”.
The mother of 16-year-old Nika Shahkarami, who died after going missing on September 20, confirmed on Thursday that she was killed by authorities after participating in an anti-hijab protest in Tehran.
Nasrin Shahkarami also accused the authorities of threatening her to confess about the death of her daughter Nika.
“I have seen my daughter’s body myself… The back of her head shows that she suffered a very severe blow due to her skull being sunken in. That’s how she suffered the injury. kill,” she said in a video posted online by Farda Radio, USA. – Sponsored Persian station based in Prague.
The Iranian judiciary has since denied that security forces killed another teenage girl, Sarina Esmailzadeh, at a protest in Karaj, west of Tehran.
Its website quoted a prosecutor as saying an investigation found that Esmailzadeh, also 16, had “committed suicide” by jumping from a building.
In an extensive crackdown, Iran has blocked access to social media, including Instagram and WhatsApp and launched a mass arrest campaign.
Protesters have gone to great lengths to avoid detection, with schoolgirls hiding or blurring their faces while shouting “Death to the dictator” and tarnishing the image of the supreme leader. Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in verified videos.
Other footage shows people chanting “Women, Life, Freedom” from their apartment windows under cover of darkness.
Another form of protest emerged Friday morning, with fountains in Tehran appearing to shed blood after an artist turned their water red to reflect the deadly crackdown.
The street violence that followed across Iran, dubbed “riots” by the authorities, resulted in dozens of deaths – mostly protesters but possibly members of the security forces as well. .
The Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Group says at least 92 protesters have been killed so far.
Security forces rounded up prominent supporters of the movement, including activists, journalists and pop stars.
Despite such measures, protests continue in towns and cities across the country.
“Death of the dictator,” a group of young women can be heard chanting in the northern city of Rasht in a video posted online Thursday and verified by AFP.
Other verified footage shows the women shouting “Azadi,” the Persian for freedom, and clapping loudly as they parade through the city of Qods, west of the capital.
Amnesty has verified the deaths of 52 people killed by security forces, but it believes “the real death toll is much higher”.
The London-based human rights group said it had documented “common forms of torture” and sexual assault.
In a statement released a week ago, they said that Iran was deliberately using lethal force to crush protests led by women.
They said they obtained a leaked document issued to armed force commanders in all provinces on September 21 ordering them to “severely confront” the protesters.
Another leak shows that the commander in Mazandaran province told the forces “to mercilessly confront, go so far as to cause death, any unrest by rioters and counter-revolutionaries.” “.

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