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Death of woman in morality police custody will be investigated, Iran president pledges

Death of woman in morality police custody will be investigated, Iran president pledges

T

he death of a 22-year-old woman in Iran after she was detained by morality police for not wearing a hijab must be investigated, the country’s president has promised.

Clashes between security forces and protesters have killed 17 people, according to state television.

There have been protests following Mahsa Amini’s death in more than a dozen cities across Iran despite its biggest telecom operator largely shutting down mobile internet access again yesterday.

The paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has urged the judiciary to prosecute “anyone who spreads fake news and rumours” on social media about the unrest.

A woman set fire to her headscarf during a protest in Tehran

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In New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi said the death must be “steadfastly” investigated.

He added that the authorities were doing what they needed to do. “It must certainly be investigated,” he said.

“I contacted her family at the very first opportunity and I assured them we would continue steadfastly to investigate that incident… Our utmost preoccupation is the safeguarding of the rights of every citizen.”

The demonstrations began as an emotional outpouring over the death of Ms Amini, arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s strictly-enforced dress code. It sparked sharp condemnation from the United States, European Union and United Nations.

The US government imposed sanctions on the morality police and leaders of other Iranian security agencies, saying they “routinely employ violence to suppress peaceful protesters.”

Iranian police say Ms Amini died following a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account.

Her father Amjad told the BBC: “She has not been to any hospital at all in the past 22 years, other than for a few cold-related sicknesses.”

Independent experts affiliated with the UN said yesterday that reports suggested she was severely beaten by the morality police, without offering evidence.

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