Iranian authorities are trying to discreetly bury a teenage girl injured in an encounter with hijab police and is near death in a bid to prevent fresh protests.
Iran International has learned that Armita Gravand’s family is being pressured by the authorities to relocate her body in silence from Tehran to Jafar Abad, Kermanshah, in the event of her death.
Armita, a high school student, fell into a coma on October 1st after an encounter with hijab enforcers in Tehran subway. She has been under a tight police cordon in Tehran’s Fajr Hospital to prevent photos or information from leaking to the public. The Iranian state media has since reported that the 16-year-old is braindead.
“Follow-ups on the latest health condition of Geravand indicate that her condition of being brain dead seems certain despite the efforts of the medical staff,” state media reported.
Hengaw Human Rights Organization, which reported the incident first, also confirmed the deterioration of her condition, stating that the medical team told her family there is no chance for her recovery.
No specific time has been announced to the family, but the government intends to avoid provoking public reaction by making a silent move, Iran International has been told.
The clerical regime fears a reaction similar to what took place after Mahsa Amini’s death, which resulted in months of anti-establishment demonstrations and the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement last year.
On the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death in mid-September, Iran’s parliament passed a stringent ‘hijab bill,’ which, if violated, can lead to sentences of up to ten years in prison. While women have been required to wear the hijab by Iran’s theocratic establishment since the 1979 revolution that overthrew the secular Shah, the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement has prompted more women to appear unveiled in public places, including malls, restaurants, and shops.
There are similarities between Mahsa and Armita’s cases, as the regime has denied any wrongdoing but compelled the families to refrain from speaking with the media. The human rights community is concerned that both may face a similar fate.
According to information acquired by Iran International, additional family members and relatives of Armita Gravand have faced threats and have been prohibited from discussing her condition with the media. Security forces have conveyed to the Gravand family that Armita’s transfer out of Tehran is under the direct orders of Iran’s Leader, Ali Khamenei.
The Gravand family and their relatives even fear that they won’t be able to freely discuss Armita at home, as per the source. They are concerned that security agents may have installed eavesdropping devices or cameras in their residences, leaving them feeling unsafe in their own homes.
Her parents were also forced to sign a document committing not to file a complaint against “any individual, organization, or entity.”
Human rights groups and UN officials have previously accused Iranian authorities of pressuring families of deceased protesters to make statements in support of the government’s narrative.
Amnesty International has called upon the international community to demand the Iranian authorities allow an independent international delegation, including UN experts, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the hospitalization of Armita Gravand.
Amini and the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ movement in Iran, were honored last week with the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament’s highest honor for human rights. This follows the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi this month.