A top United Nations official demands an independent investigation into the death of an Iranian woman held by the country’s morality police.
The woman’s death has ignited demonstrations across the country, including the capital, Tehran, where demonstrators have chanted against the government and clashed with police.
The UN Human Rights Office says Iran’s morality police have expanded their patrols in recent months, targeting women for not properly wearing the Islamic headscarf, known as hijab. It says verified videos show women being slapped in the face, struck with batons and thrown into police vans for wearing the hijab too loosely.
A similar patrol detained 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last Tuesday, taking her to a police station where she collapsed. She died three days later. Iranian police have denied mistreating Amini and say she died of a heart attack. Authorities say they are investigating the incident.
“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority,” says Nada Al-Nashif, the acting UN high commissioner for human rights.
Iran’s government does not immediately comment on the statement but has previously criticized the work of UN investigators examining rights issues in the country.