Mahsa Amini’s father says Iranian authorities lied about her death, as protests rage

Amjad Amini, whose daughter Mahsa died after being arrested in Tehran by vice squadsaid doctors refused to let him see his daughter after she died.
Iranian officials claimed she died after suffering a ‘heart attack’ and falling into a coma, but her family said she had no pre-existing heart condition, according to pro-Iranian media outlet Emtedad News. reform. Public skepticism of the officials’ account of his death sparked a surge of anger which turned into deadly protests.

“They lie. They tell lies. Everything is a lie… no matter how much I begged, they wouldn’t let me see my daughter,” Amjad Amini told BBC Persia on Wednesday.

When he saw his daughter’s body ahead of her funeral, it was completely wrapped except for her feet and face – although he did notice bruises on her feet. “I have no idea what they did to her,” he said.

CNN could not independently verify his account with hospital officials.

A protest in Tehran, Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini on September 21.

CCTV footage released by Iranian state media showed Mahsa Amini collapsing in a “re-education” center where she was taken by vice squad to receive “counseling” on how to dress.

His death triggered a surge of anger which has snowballed to include issues ranging from freedoms in the Islamic Republic to the crippling economic impacts of sanctions.

Protests and deadly clashes with police have erupted in cities and towns across Iran, despite authorities’ attempts to curb the spread of protests through internet blackouts.

Internet shutdowns

Mobile networks were largely shut down and access to Instagram and Whatsapp was restricted, internet watchdog Netblocks said late Wednesday.

There was a near total disruption of internet access in parts of Iran’s Western Kurdistan Province from Monday evening, and regional power outages in other parts of the country, including Sanandaj and Tehran.

Iranian women burn their hijab as hundreds protest the death of Mahsa Amini

It comes after Iran’s communications minister warned there could be internet outages “for security reasons and discussions related to recent events”, according to the country’s semi-official ISNA news agency.

The last time Iran experienced such a severe blackout was when authorities tried to contain it mass protests in late 2019after fuel prices rose 300%.

At the time, Iran was almost entirely offline, in what Oracle’s Internet Intelligence called Iran’s “biggest internet shutdown ever.”

This week, several Iranian state government websites – including the official websites of the President and the Iranian Central Bank – were also offline, with hacker collective Anonymous claiming responsibility.

Dozens of people stage a demonstration to protest the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran, Iran on September 21.

“(Greetings) Citizens of Iran. This is a message from Anonymous to all of Iran. We are here and we are with you,” a social media account affiliated with the group tweeted on Tuesday.

“We support your determination for peace against brutality and massacres. We know that your determination does not stem from revenge, but from your desire for justice. All tyrants will fall before your courage. Long live free Iranian women.”

The hacker collective also took responsibility for temporarily shutting down the website of Iran’s state news agency Fars early Wednesday morning, according to a tweet from Anonymous. The site has since come back online.

Growing fury over deadly clashes

At least eight people, including a teenager, were killed in the last few days due to clashes during the protests, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

At least four of those eight people “died from wounds sustained by security forces firing lead shots at point-blank range,” Amnesty said in a report released on Wednesday.

Four others were shot dead by security forces, Amnesty said, citing sources in Iran. He added that eyewitness accounts and video analysis show that “Iranian security forces are illegally and repeatedly firing metal pellets directly at protesters.”

Riot police were mobilized to disperse protesters in the capital Tehran on Wednesday evening, and were seen arresting several people, according to eyewitnesses who did not want to be named for security reasons.

A burning garbage can in the middle of an intersection during a protest in Tehran, Iran, on September 20.

Riot police deployed tear gas, with a “brutal crackdown” near Tehran University, an eyewitness said.

Another eyewitness in the city’s eastern quarter said protesters shouted “Death to the dictator”, a reference to Iran’s supreme leader, and “I kill everyone who killed my sister”, in reference to Amini.

Videos of protests nationwide show people tearing down posters of the Supreme Leader, and women burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in a symbolic show of defiance.

CNN has contacted Iranian police and Revolutionary Guards, who joined riot police Wednesday night in Tehran, for comment. They have not released any statements about the protests or how law enforcement has handled the protests.

Iran's morality police have been terrorizing women for decades.  Who are they?

International activists and leaders have also expressed concern over protests and allegations of police violence.

Sweden’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Sweden stands with Iranians mourning Amini and demanded that the authorities respect their right to peaceful protest. Germany also called on the Iranian authorities to “allow peaceful protests and, above all, to no longer resort to violence” during a press conference on Wednesday.

UK Foreign Secretary Tariq Ahmad said Britain was “extremely concerned at reports of serious mistreatment of Ms Amini, and many others, by security forces”.

“The use of violence in response to the expression of fundamental rights, by women or any other member of Iranian society, is completely unjustifiable,” the statement said.