29 Oct 2023

Armita Geravand: Iranian girl who collapsed on Tehran metro dies

9:35 am on 29 October 2023

By Ruth Comerford

CCTV footage released by authorities shows a girl being pulled unconscious from the metro train in Tehran.

CCTV footage released by authorities shows a girl being pulled unconscious from the metro train in Tehran. Photo: Screenshot

A teenage Iranian girl who fell into a coma after an alleged altercation with morality police earlier this month has died, state media and activists say.

Armita Geravand, 16, collapsed after boarding a Tehran metro train on 1 October.

Activists accused morality police of assaulting her for not wearing a hijab, but authorities insisted she fainted.

She died on Saturday morning after "suffering from brain damage", according to state news agency Irna.

Borna news agency, which is affiliated with the youth ministry, said Armita had died after receiving 28 days of "intensive medical treatment".

There was no immediate confirmation from Armita's parents.

But Norway-based human rights group Hengaw, which focuses on Iran's Kurdish ethnic minority, said it had received a report that Armita had "become the latest victim of forced hijab and has died after 28 days of hospitalisation".

It called for an independent medical team from Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Committee of the Red Cross to investigate her death.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has attempted to distort the narrative surrounding the government's involvement in her death," the group said.

Many Iranians have drawn parallels with the case of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in custody in September 2022 after being detained by morality police in Tehran for allegedly wearing her hijab "improperly".

Anti-government protests, which are still taking place, erupted across the country when Amini died after three days in a coma. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands detained in a violent crackdown by security forces.

Irna's report on Saturday said that Armita Geravand had "hit the back of her head against the edge of the platform" when she collapsed at Tehran's Shohada station.

"Unfortunately, she went into a coma for some time after suffering from brain damage. She died a few minutes ago," it added.

Hengaw alleged that Armita "fell into a coma after an assault by special officers enforcing compulsory hijab".

However, the managing director of the Tehran metro has previously denied that there was "any verbal or physical conflict" between Armita and "passengers or metro executives".

CCTV footage released by Iranian authorities shows Armita, with her hair uncovered, boarding a train with two other girls. Moments later, one of the girls backs out of the train and bends down.

She and several other passengers are then seen carrying an unconscious Armita by her arms and legs before laying her down on the platform.

No footage from inside the train or the entrance to the station was released.

A photo of Armita that Hengaw posted on social media two days after she collapsed showed her lying on her back in a bed with a bandaged head and attached to what appeared to be a breathing tube.

Armita was declared brain dead last Sunday. Her father Bahman Geravand told Hengaw at the time that doctors had said there was "no hope of recovery".

Hengaw said that the teen had not undergone any operations since being admitted to hospital as her condition was considered too fragile.

- This story was first published on the BBC

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