The Tragic Death of Mahsa Amini

Mahsa Amini Twitter

Mahsa Amini was killed by Iranian Morality Officers for not wearing hijab.

Chinel Okoye, Productions Editor

   On Sept. 16, a young woman’s life was tragically taken away by Iranian officers. Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old woman who was beaten to death by Iranian officers in Tehran, Iran, where she was visiting. Amini was first arrested on Sept. 13 for allegedly violating the strict dress code rules heavily directed toward women. This rule includes women having to wear hijabs or head scarves that cover their hair at all times. After Amini’s arrest, the officers claimed she would be “taught” about the hijab, but that was not the case. 

   Amini grew up in northwest Iran and was visiting Tehran when she and her brother were approached by Iran’s morality officers because they claimed that she was not wearing a hijab in accordance with Iran’s government standards, WSJ News reported. Officers claim that Amini was taken to the Vozara Street Detention Center only to be taught about wearing hijab, but was there for over two hours. According to The Jerusalem Post, Amini and her brother pleaded with the morality officers, saying that they were not “familiar with the dress code” because they weren’t originally from Tehran, but Amini was still arrested. Her brother waited outside of the detention center, but after two hours, an ambulance arrived for Amini, who suffered from several injuries. Local police claimed that Amini suffered from a heart attack, but her family stated she had no prior heart conditions. Eyewitnesses and several other women who were also detained with Amini claim that she was beaten several times, which led to blunt force trauma, skull fractures, and eventually a coma, causing Amini to die three days later in the hospital. 

   Amini’s death sparked nationwide protests in Iran, which spread to several other cities including Tehran, where Amini was killed, as well as several different countries around the world including England and the U.S. The protests led to at least 75 people losing their lives in Iran according to CBS. Protestors have been stoning images of the Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which led to Iran’s government accusing the west, especially the United States, of lighting a fire under the protesters according CBS, reported. 

   “The riots have been the biggest to rock Iran since 2019. Women, raging against rigid Iranian law, are illegally removing their head coverings and burning them,” CBS reported. “Men are joining them to protest a regime they all denounce as repressive.”

   Women in Iran have begun to cut their hair in support of Amini, her family and other victims who died at the hands of morality officers. Women have also been taking off their hijabs, burning them in public, as well as dressing up as men to defy the strict laws. In many Middle Eastern countries, women’s hair is a symbol of femininity and is heavily idealized. By cutting their hair, women are breaking that symbol and standing up for the rights.

   Many celebrities have come forward to support Iranian women, including model Bella Hadid, actress Jessica Chastain and recording artist Justin Bieber among others.