Iran International has learned that parents of Armita Geravand, the teenage girl in coma after an encounter with hijab enforcers, were pressured not to file a lawsuit.
Based on the information obtained by Iran International, Armita’s parents were recently taken to the office of Delavar Alghasi-Mehr, the police commander of eastern part of Tehran province. There, they were forced to sign documents committing not file complaints against “any individual, organization, or entity.”
Aghasi-Mehr, the police chief, was sanctioned in September by the US in connection to the regime’s repression in advance of the death anniversary of Mahsa “Zhina” Amini. Mahsa’s death at the hands of hijab enforcement patrols in mid-September 2022 sparked the Women, Life, Freedom protests.
Circumstances surrounding her case bear uncanny similarities to that of Armita. In both cases the regime has denied any wrongdoing but forced the families not to speak to the media and even broadcast video of the parents confessing on camera that what happened to their daughters had nothing to do with hijab enforcers.
Following the encounter with hijab enforcers, Armita fell into a coma and is kept in a heavily guarded hospital. She reportedly hit her head when she fell to the ground and lost consciousness after being assaulted by hijab enforcers on her way to school in a subway car two weeks ago. Last week, Hengaw Human Rights Organization reported that her medical team has told the family there is no hope for her recovery.
The regime has consistently resorted to a playbook of distorting the truth and intimidating victims’ families whenever its agents are implicated in any significant crime. Similar to the way they handled the situation while Mahsa Amini was hospitalized comatose, authorities have significantly restricted the family’s access to Armita. Both the journalist who wanted to cover Armita’s story and Armita’s mother were briefly detained. Two journalists that reported on the case of Mahsa Amini are still in prison in Tehran since her death more than a year ago. The regime also killed more than 500 people and arrested over 22,000 who protested her death during months of rallies and strikes.
The news of Armita being reported as braindead has stirred outrage among many Iranians, who witness more people falling victim to the regime’s strict enforcement of hijab that has become increasingly severe by punitive regulations via new hijab laws and modern technology.
People on social media question why authorities can use surveillance cameras to identify women who defy hijab but seem unable to find the truth in such situations. Footage of Armita’s presence at the subway station and an audio file of the call made by an employee of the Tehran Metro to the emergency services, which state media have released, have not been able to convince the public that hijab enforcers were not involved in the incident.
In a harshly worded letter addressed to Iran’s ruler Ali Khamenei, daughter of former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani enumerated the names of some of the iconic victims of the regime, asking, “How many Nedas, Navids, Mahsas and Armitas must be sacrificed and how long this destruction must continue until you realize the severity of the situation?”
Female Islamic scholar Sedigheh Vasmaghi also released a video without hijab for the first time last week, saying, “We must not stay silent and witness every day that an Armita, a Mahsa or another beloved child of ours becomes a victim merely for not wearing a headscarf.”
The anti-regime movement that began more than a year ago has made it increasingly difficult for the clerical regime to enforce the mandatory Islamic dress code. Since the beginning of the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement, tens of thousands of girls and women have shed their compulsory hijab. The regime seeks to criminalize hijab defiance, but no branch of the government wants to be solely responsible for complications and the risk of social backlash.