Five things to know about the legacy of Mahsa Amini

The 22-year-old’s death at the hands of Iran’s morality police has led to hundreds of deaths, widespread protests and international condemnation.

The World Today
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September marks the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was severely beaten by Iranian morality police after violating the country’s strict dress code requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab. Mahsa died in hospital in Tehran on September 16, 2022, triggering widespread protests. Here are five things that happened after her death:

September 17, 2022 Protests erupt during Mahsa’s funeral in Saqqez, her home town in Kurdistan. As demonstrations spread to Tehran, some women remove their headscarves in defiance of the country’s dress code. Others chant ‘death to the dictator’.

October 3, 2022 Escalating protests in dozens of cities across Iran lead to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly backing his security forces amid violent clashes. Khamenei claims Mahsa’s death ‘broke my heart’ but insists the incident was provoked by Iran’s enemies. Demonstrators chant ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, and women in Iran and around the world cut their hair in public in an act of solidarity.

December 8, 2022 Iran carries out the first known execution of an anti-government protester since the demonstrations began. Mohsen Shekari, 22, is hanged after the regime accuses him of wounding a member of a paramilitary force linked to the Revolutionary Guards with a machete. James Cleverly, Britain’s foreign secretary, says he is ‘outraged’ by the execution. Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, says the Iranian government’s ‘inhumanity knows no bounds’.

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December 8, 2022 A report by the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency finds some 520 people were killed in the first four months of the protests, with 70 of the dead being minors and 68 security force members. It calculates some 20,000 people were arrested. Seven months later, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran finds ‘at least 26 individuals have been sentenced to death in connection with the protests since November 2022’.  

July 17, 2023 Iranian authorities say they will resume street patrols to ensure women adhere to the country’s dress codes. A morality police spokesman says officers will first issue warnings. Repeat offenders may face legal action.