LONDON: UN experts have condemned the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini, 22, who died in police custody after being detained for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code.
Amini’s death has sparked widespread protests throughout Iran, with several peaceful protesters suffering severe injuries after being attacked by security forces.
Amini was arrested by the country’s morality police on Sept. 13. She is believed to have been beaten during her time in detention and fell into a coma, dying three days later in hospital.
Authorities in Iran have claimed that Amini suffered a heart attack, but conflicting reports allege that she died as a result of torture and physical violence.
UN experts have urged Tehran to avoid using force to break up peaceful demonstrations.
The experts included Javaid Rehman, special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, and Reem Alsalem, special rapporteur on violence against women. They are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Amini. She is another victim of Iran’s sustained repression and systematic discrimination against women, and the imposition of discriminatory dress codes that deprive women of bodily autonomy, and the freedoms of opinion, expression and belief,” the experts said in a statement.
“We strongly condemn the use of physical violence against women and the denial of fundamental human dignity when enforcing compulsory hijab policies ordained by state authorities.
“We call on the Iranian authorities to hold an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into Amini’s death, make the findings of the investigation public and hold all perpetrators accountable.”
Iranian authorities have also reportedly authorized internet blackouts in parts of the country, including in the capital Tehran.
“Disruptions to the internet are usually part of a larger effort to stifle the free expression and association of the Iranian population, and to curtail ongoing protests. State-mandated internet disruptions cannot be justified under any circumstances,” the experts said.
“Over the past four decades, Iranian women have continued to peacefully protest against the compulsory hijab rules and the violations of their fundamental human rights.
“Iran must repeal all legislation and policies that discriminate on the grounds of sex and gender, in line with international human rights standards.”