Two journalists in Iran, both reporters on the death of protest icon Jîna Mahsa Amini, have been sentenced to a total of 25 years in prison by the Islamic Republic. Meanwhile, an Iranian girl dubbed ‘the next Amini’ has been declared brain dead after an alleged beating by the country’s morality police on 1 Oct.
Journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi were initially charged in 2022 with “spying for the CIA” after reporting on the beating of Amini in police custody for wearing her head dress improperly and her consequent death, which triggered nationwide protests. On a string of charges, the pair have been incarcerated in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison ever since.
The multiple prison sentences, handed down in October, range from one to seven years for “collaborating with the hostile countries”, “propaganda” and “assembly and collusion”.
Meanwhile, in an incident alarmingly reminiscent of Amini’s fate, another young girl in Iran has allegedly fallen victim to Iran’s brutal enforcement of the Islamic dress code. Sixteen-year-old Armita Garawand was reportedly confronted by officers for not wearing the compulsory hijab covering for women while travelling on a metro train in the Iranian capital Tehran. The officers allegedly smashed her head against a pole as they dragged her from the train. However, the government claims she simply fainted, and have produced a CCTV video showing fellow passengers dragging an unconscious body from the train.
“Armita’s medical team has informed us that her brain is no longer functioning, and there’s no hope of recovery,” her father told Hengaw, three weeks after the alleged beating. Iran’s security forces have also confirmed the girl’s ‘brain death’ but denied that she was physically abused by authorities.
Garawand’s mother was arrested shortly after her daughter was admitted to hospital and she has not been seen or heard from since, the human rights watchdog warned. The family has reported massive pressure from the authorities to keep quiet on the incident in order to stifle a further escalation of dissent.
Iranian women’s rights activist Narges Mohammadi, a recent Nobel laureate, said the “government’s behaviour shows its desperate attempt to prevent the truth … from being revealed”.
German Prime Minister Annalena Baerbock was quick to take to social media to condemn the repetition of events. “Once again a young woman in Iran is fighting for her life,” she posted on X. “Just because she showed her hair on the subway. It is intolerable.”