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Woman, 22, dies after falling into coma in Iran morality police custody

Woman, 22, dies after falling into coma in Iran morality police custody
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CNN

A 22-year-old Iranian woman has died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police earlier this week, Iran’s semi-official website Etemad Online reported, citing her uncle.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has ordered an investigation into the circumstances of her death, Iran’s state news agency ISNA reported on Friday.

On Tuesday evening, Mahsa Amini and her family, who had traveled from Iran’s Kurdistan region to visit relatives in the capital Tehran, were stopped by a patrol from the Morality Police – a special unit that enforces strict dress codes for women, such as a mandatory headscarf.

According to IranWire, human rights activists who spoke to the family say police grabbed Amini and forced her into a police vehicle.

Her brother Kiarash tried to intervene and was told his sister was being taken to the police station for an hour for “re-education,” IranWire reported.

Kiarash said he never saw his sister awake again.

While he was waiting outside the police station for her release, an ambulance pulled up and discreetly took his sister to the hospital.

In an interview with IranWire, Kiarash said he was told that she suffered a heart attack or stroke at the police station and was in a coma.

On Thursday, Tehran police said Amini suffered a “heart attack” after her arrest on Tuesday.

“The woman was taken to a police station in the greater Tehran area for counseling and investigation when she suddenly suffered a heart attack in the presence of other people,” police said.

Amini’s family have questioned the police version of events, saying she is a normal, healthy 22-year-old with no pre-existing heart problems.

“It took only two hours from their arrest to hospitalization,” Kiarash told IranWire.

A video released by Iranian state television is said to show Amini going to an “educational center” where she would have received “instructions” on appropriate Islamic dress, state media said.

The edited video shows CCTV footage of a woman taking a seat and then standing to speak to an “expert” who touched her clothing before collapsing to the ground.

The clip below shows five men carrying her on a stretcher, seemingly unconscious. An ambulance is then shown in a different frame.

There is an edit in the video at 19 seconds, after which you see the woman stand up and speak. Before the cut it seems to be light outside. After the cut, it appears dark.

“MS. Amini looks unwell and falls to the ground,” says the state media reporter.

It is not known what happened to Amini after her arrest and before her appearance at the re-education center. CNN cannot verify that the woman in the video is Amini.

Iranian officials said Saturday they performed an autopsy on Amini’s body. Iranian forensic medical organization director Mehdi Forozesh said on state television the results would be released after further review by medical experts.

Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, said in a tweet on Friday that the White House is deeply concerned about Amini’s death.

Amini, “was reportedly beaten by the Iranian Morality Police while in detention. Her death is unforgivable. We will continue to hold Iranian officials accountable for such human rights abuses,” Sullivan tweeted.

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