Armita Geravand, a teenage girl who was seen unconscious after allegedly encountering police officers on a train without wearing hijab on October 1, is said to be “brain dead,” according to an Iranian semi-state media report published Sunday.
Tehran metro station surveillance shows that on October 1, 16-year-old Geravand, on her way to school, entered the metro carriage from Shohada station at around 7:08 a.m, with her hair uncovered. A few minutes later, her unconscious body was dragged out of the carriage. She was sent to hospital and has been in a coma since then. What happened within the few minutes after she entered the train remains unknown.
While Iranian officials attributed the incident to a blood pressure issue, which they say led Geravand to fall and hit her head, activists nevertheless alleged that she may have been attacked by police officers in the carriage for violating the country’s mandatory hijab requirement. Notably, Iran announced the return of morality police on July 16 this year, the responsibility of whom is to patrol the streets, enforcing Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code, which forces women to wear hijab.
Iranian human rights group Kurdish-Iranian Hengaw, who revealed the incident to the public, reported on Sunday that Geravand’s medical team had informed her parents that her brain was no longer functioning and there was no hope of recovery.
It is also alleged that Geravand’s family and friends were threatened to cover up for the government by not telling the truth regarding what happened in the carriage on October 1. The incident happened just two weeks after the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after being arrested for not complying with the country’s mandatory hijab law. Mahsa’s death has sparked the large-scale Woman, Life, Freedom protest in Iran. While activist groups mark Geravand as “another victim of forced hijab” following Amini, Iran officials are also worried about Geravand’s incident turning into another series of Mahsa Amini protests. The Fajr Air Force Hospital, in which Geravand is staying, has been subject to stringent security measures. A news reporter who attempted to visit the hospital to cover the story was detained.
Activists have requested an independent investigation of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was established in according with the UN Human Rights Council resolution S35/1 after the death of Mahsa Amini. The Mission’s mandates include “to thoroughly and independently investigate alleged human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran related to the protests that began on 16 September 2022, especially with respect to women and children.”