Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died days after being arrested by police. (File)


Iranian authorities on Saturday prevented Mahsa Amini’s family from holding a ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of her death and locked her father in his home after a brief detention, human rights groups said.

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died a few days after she was arrested by religious police for allegedly violating the strict dress code for women in place since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Her family says she died from a blow to the head, but Iranian authorities deny this.

Anger over her death quickly escalated into weeks of protests against taboos in which women tore off their mandatory headscarves, openly challenging the Islamic Republic’s system of governance under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mahsa Amimi’s father Amjad Amini was arrested as he left the family home in the western city of Saqez and then released after being warned not to hold a memorial service at her grave, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), 1500tasvir Monitor and Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) said.

He is now no longer allowed to leave the family home because members of the security forces are stationed outside, the groups added in separate statements.

“Amjad Amini is under house arrest…security forces are preventing him from visiting his daughter’s grave,” IHR said.

The official IRNA news agency called the reports of the arrest “false” and said they were aimed at “inciting the population to protest.”

Amjad Amini was summoned by intelligence officials last week after he announced his intention to hold a memorial ceremony. One of Amini’s uncles, Safa Aeli, was arrested in Saqez on September 5 and remains in custody.

There was no sign that the ceremony took place at her grave in Aichi Cemetery in Saqez. Human rights groups said security forces had blocked access to the site.

“Stranglehold on dissent”

The protests sparked by Amini’s death lost momentum after several months, with security forces killing 551 protesters, according to IHR, and arresting more than 22,000, according to Amnesty International.

According to Iranian authorities, dozens of security forces were also killed in the so-called “riots” instigated by foreign governments and hostile media.

Seven men were executed after being convicted in protest cases.

Activists say authorities have renewed their crackdown ahead of the anniversary, putting pressure on relatives of those killed in the protests to prevent them from speaking out.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said family members of at least 36 people killed or executed in the crackdown were interrogated, arrested, prosecuted or sentenced to prison last month.

“Iranian authorities are trying to put a stranglehold on dissent to prevent public commemoration of Mahsa Jina Amini’s death in custody,” said Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at HRW.

The Kurdish-focused group Hengaw said people in western Iran expressed their discontent through a general strike that closed shops in a dozen cities, including Saqez.

Persian-language channels outside Iran, including Iran International, broadcast footage overnight of residents shouting “Death to the dictator” and the main protest slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” from apartment blocks in Tehran and its satellite city of Karaj.

In a symbolic move, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met with families of security personnel killed in the protests during a visit to the northeastern city of Mashhad on Friday, state media reported.


While some women still walk around in public without headscarves, particularly in wealthy, traditionally liberal areas of northern Tehran, the conservative-dominated parliament is currently considering a draft law that would impose far harsher penalties for violators.

“The Islamic Republic is intensifying its repression and reprisals against its citizens and seeking to introduce new and more draconian laws that further restrict the rights of women and girls,” said Sara Hossain, chair of the UN fact-finding mission set up to investigate the raid.

Iranian emigrants are to hold commemorative rallies under the motto “Say their name!”, and large demonstrations are expected in Paris and Toronto.

On the eve of the anniversary, Iran’s arch-enemy, the United States, and its Western allies, including Britain and the European Union, imposed new sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its crackdown on protests.

In announcing the measures, US President Joe Biden led international calls for solidarity with the Iranians on the anniversary of Amini’s death.

“The Iranians alone will decide the fate of their country, but the United States remains committed to standing by their side,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani criticized the “illegal and undiplomatic actions” of Western countries in a statement late Friday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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