ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Dozens of protesters have been arrested in Iran’s western Kurdish provinces (Rojhelat) in demonstrations condemning the controversial death of a Kurdish woman during detention in an Iranian prison, a human rights watchdog reported on Sunday, as the country’s President promised the woman’s family to investigate the incident.
Mahsa (Zhina) Amini was detained on Tuesday for allegedly not wearing a hijab properly and was taken to hospital a few hours later after she collapsed in prison. She died on Friday with the authorities claiming that the cause of death was a heart attack, but human rights activists say she was tortured.
Following the burial in her home city of Saqqez, protests broke out, with a group of women removing their headscarves in protest.
Protests continued in Sanandaj on Sunday, leading to altercations between the demonstrators and local security forces, who used tear gas and bullets to disperse the protesters.
Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said that at least 38 people have been injured in the protests so far, with 13 others reportedly arrested. The human rights watchdog reported later that at least 10 others were arrested during Sunday’s protests in Sanadaj.
A number of Kurdish political parties have called for general demonstrations to be held on Monday across the cities of Rojhelat, protesting Amini’s death.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi extended his condolences to Amini’s family through a phone call on Sunday, assuring them that he has ordered a thorough probe into the incident to clarify the situation.
“Your daughter is like my own daughter, and my feeling is that this incident happened to one of my loved ones. Consider me a partner in your misfortune and a sympathizer of your sorrow,” Iranian state media cited Raisi as telling Amini’s family.
Amnesty International called for an investigation into the death of Amini.
“The circumstances leading to the suspicious death in custody of 22-year-old young woman Mahsa Amini, which include allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in custody, must be criminally investigated,” it said.