Campaign

Update

October 7, 2023

16-year-old Put in Coma as Battle over Misogynist Hijab Law Continues to Rage in Iran

Oct 30: Armita has died; her burial in Tehran is heavily surveilled and then attacked by police

October 7, 2023

Armita Garavand (Geravand) is 16 years old, and studies art in an arts and vocational academy in Tehran, Iran. She is an amateur Taekwondo athlete. Just days before October 1, she had joyfully videotaped herself making a beautiful painting on her school. Today, she lies in a coma in an ICU blocked by military guards.

Armita Garavand on X, then in Fajr Hospital ICU posted by Hengaw

On Sunday October 1, 2023, a grainy Tehran Metro surveillance video on Iranian state TV shows that she and a group of friends, some of them with their headscarves (hijabs) around their shoulders instead of covering their hair, entered the Tehran metro train on their way to school. Moments later her friends are seen pulling out her unconscious body. She was taken by ambulance to Fajr Air Force Hospital, where she underwent CPR and remains in a coma as we write.

The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) media rushed to claim, with no evidence or witness, that Armita suffered a sudden loss of blood pressure and fell, hitting her head on the train.

Sounds familiar? One year ago, while 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini lay in a coma after being arrested by morality police, state officials claimed she suffered a heart attack unrelated to her arrest and published a video of her collapsing after arriving at the morality “education” center.

Armita Garavand (Geravand) is 16 years old, and studies art in an arts and vocational academy in Tehran, Iran. She is an amateur Taekwondo athlete. Just days before October 1, she had joyfully videotaped herself making a beautiful painting on her school. Today, she lies in a coma in an ICU blocked by military guards.

Armita Garavand on X, then in Fajr Hospital ICU posted by Hengaw

On Sunday October 1, 2023, a grainy Tehran Metro surveillance video on Iranian state TV shows that she and a group of friends, some of them with their headscarves (hijabs) around their shoulders instead of covering their hair, entered the Tehran metro train on their way to school. Moments later her friends are seen pulling out her unconscious body. She was taken by ambulance to Fajr Air Force Hospital, where she underwent CPR and remains in a coma as we write.

The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) media rushed to claim, with no evidence or witness, that Armita suffered a sudden loss of blood pressure and fell, hitting her head on the train.

Sounds familiar? One year ago, while 22-year-old Mahsa Jina Amini lay in a coma after being arrested by morality police, state officials claimed she suffered a heart attack unrelated to her arrest and published a video of her collapsing after arriving at the morality “education” center.

Here are some details which contradict or call into question the “official” version on Armita:

  • On Oct. 5 The Guardian reported that an eyewitness described how a hijab enforcer immediately confronted Armita when she entered the train. "The chador-clad woman screamed at her asking her why was she not covered. Armita then told her ‘Do I ask you to remove your headscarf? Why are you asking me to wear one?’ Their argument then turned violent. The hijab enforcer started physically attacking Armita and … violently pushed her.”
  • Multiple cameras are constantly recording inside the metro trains, but no footage has been released from inside the train.
  • The Coordinating Council of Teacher's Organizations reported that the heads of security from both the Ministry of Education and the General Directorate of Education in Tehran visited Armita's school. They threatened teachers not to share any news or photos of Armita on social media and threatened Armita’s classmates against sharing any information about her condition. Armita's friends who were with her on the day of the incident are facing immense pressure to deny any involvement or knowledge of what transpired.
  • A journalist who went to Fajr Hospital to find information was detained for 24 hours.Streets around Fajr Hospital are heavily controlled by police and military, and all access to the hospital is blocked.
  • Human Rights group Hengaw reported that security forces confiscated cell phones from all members of Armita’s family, none of whom has been allowed to see her in the hospital as of this writing.
  • State TV ran a tape of her parents –under military and police pressure inside Fajr—saying that they were shown the video and saw no evidence on video she was assaulted, but even under the fear for their whole family and their daughter they did not go beyond saying what the officials told them to say.
Composite photo by IEC: A hijab enforcer, social media selfie of Armita; Armita’s response to hijab enforcer per witness; still from footage of Armita’s body being pulled from train.

Although, as in Mahsa Jina Amini’s case, the truth of exactly what happened and exactly who struck the blow to the head of this young woman may continue to be suppressed, there is no doubt that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran, its compulsory hijab law and its violent enforcement that has created the societal atmosphere for vicious official and unofficial assaults on hijabless women.

Far from backing off from enforcing the compulsory hijab law, the IRI has doubled down on it in recent months. On September 20, 2023, just four days after the anniversary of Jina’s death, Iran’s parliament approved the draconian “Hijab and Chastity Law”, under which women face up to 10 years in prison if they continue to defy the country’s mandatory hijab rules and to identify those who “promote nudity [or] indecency” or “mock” the rules in a virtual or non-virtual space.[i]

[i]Iran approves stricter hijab bill targeting those who ‘mock’ dress code”, The Guardian, September 20, 2023.

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