Protest woman’s grave attacked by vandals in Iran

Vandals have attacked the grave of Mahsa Amini, the young woman whose death in custody last September sparked anti-government protests across Iran.

Photos from her family showed a pane of glass covering her tomb­stone and portrait was smashed at Aichi cemetery in the western city of Saqqez.

Her brother posted on Insta­gram that it was the second attack in recent months. “Even the glass of your tombstone bothers them,” Ashkan Amini wrote, without directly blaming anyone. He vowed: “No matter how many times they break it, we will fix it. Let’s see who gets tired first.”

The family’s lawyer, Saleh Nir­bakht, said in an audio message that the grave was vandalised on Sunday by individuals “known for such distasteful actions in the past”.

He also said Mahsa’s father had told him that authorities obstruct­ed the installation of a protective canopy over the grave by threaten­ing a local welder that his business would be shut down if he carried out the work.

Mahsa died in hospital in Tehran on September 16, three days after she was detained by morality police in the capital for allegedly violating Iran’s strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf.

Witnesses said the 22-year-old Kurd was beaten while in custody, but authorities denied she was mis­treated and instead blamed “sudden heart failure” for her death.

The first protests took place af­ter her funeral in her hometown of Saqqez, when women ripped off their headscarves in solidarity.

They spread rapidly across the country and evolved into one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more have been detained in a violent crack­down by security forces, which have portrayed the protests as foreign-instigated “riots”.

Seven protesters have also been executed since December following what a United Nations (UN) expert has called “arbitrary, summary and sham trials marred by torture allegations”. —BBC

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