On October 1st, Armita Geravand, a 16-year-old girl, had an altercation with officers enforcing the Islamic dress code in the Tehran metro for not adhering to the standard dress regulations. Following this incident, the minor was hospitalised in Tehran. It is noteworthy that, on October 4th, she fell into a coma and remained under medical treatment until October 22, when doctors declared her brain dead.
Tragically, the fate of this minor mirrors that of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who passed away last year while in the custody of morality police, prompting months of nationwide protests.
An activist reported that security forces prohibited Geravand’s parents from sharing her photo on social media or communicating with human rights organisations.
CCTV footage, shared by IRNA, depicted Geravand without the mandatory hijab, walking with two female friends towards the train from the metro platform. Upon entering the cabin, one of the girls immediately recoiled and crouched to the ground, while another girl had to be pulled unconscious from the cabin by fellow passengers.
Groups like the Kurdish-Iranian Hengaw were the first to bring Armita Geravand’s hospitalisation to public attention. They shared photos of the unconscious 16-year-old on social media, displaying her with a respiratory tube and a bandage over her head, clearly reliant on life support. Reuters could not independently verify these images.
“Updates on Geravand’s current health condition strongly suggest that she is brain-dead, despite the efforts of the medical staff,” reported state media.
There are growing concerns among human rights advocates that Geravand may meet a fate similar to that of Mahsa Amini, whose tragic death in the custody of morality police last year triggered widespread anti-government protests, presenting one of the most significant challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers.
Two prominent human rights activists have reported that the girl was assaulted by security personnel in the Tehran metro for violating Iran’s strict hijab regulations. This resulted in her falling into a coma and being admitted to the hospital in critical condition.
One of the activists stated, “We are closely monitoring her case. She is currently in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit, and her condition is very serious. Her relatives have mentioned a significant presence of plainclothes security personnel at the hospital.”
An Iranian rights group called Dadban posted, “Iranian security authorities claim her condition was due to low blood pressure, a frequently cited explanation from such authorities.”
In a video uploaded to the official news agency IRNA, the girl’s parents explained that their daughter experienced a drop in blood pressure, causing her to lose her balance and hit her head inside the metro cabin. Her mother stated, “I believe my daughter’s blood pressure suddenly dropped, although I’m not entirely certain. I think they mentioned something about her pressure dropping.”
However, human rights organisations have called for the government to release footage from inside the cabin, asserting that the parents’ statements may have been made under duress.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock commented on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), saying, “Once again, a young woman in Iran is fighting for her life, simply because she showed her hair in the subway. It’s unbearable. Armita Geravand’s parents shouldn’t be in front of cameras, but they have every right to be at their daughter’s side.”
Since the 1979 revolution that ousted the secular, Western-backed Shah, Iran’s theocratic regime has enforced stringent regulations on women’s attire. According to the law, women are obliged to conceal their hair and don loose-fitting, long garments. Those who infringe upon this code risk facing public condemnation, fines, or even arrest. However, in the wake of Amini’s tragic incident, an increasing number of women have been bravely defying these stringent Islamic dress norms, appearing unveiled in public venues like malls, restaurants, and shops throughout the country.