Tehran – Armita Garawand, a 16-year-old Iranian teenager, remains in a coma after an incident on the Tehran metro that activists claim involved police assault. Her family has expressed despair, stating that there is no hope of recovery.
Kurdish-focused Hengaw rights group released a statement on behalf of the Garawand family, contradicting Iranian state media reports, which suggested she was now “likely brain-dead” following the early October event.
The Iranian authorities have vehemently denied allegations that Garawand sustained severe injuries during an altercation with female officers who apprehended her for allegedly violating strict dress codes for women. Officials claim that her collapse was due to low blood pressure.
Bahman Garawand, Armita’s father, revealed, “Armita’s medical team has informed us that her brain is no longer functioning, and there is no hope of recovery.” The teenager has remained at Fajr Hospital in Tehran, where a tight security presence has been reported.
This incident has raised concerns within Iran, as it comes on the heels of the September 2022 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for dress code violations, leading to months of nationwide protests.
Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation into Armita Garawand’s case, pointing to “mounting evidence of a cover-up by the authorities.” Amnesty’s analysis of Iranian media footage has indicated signs of editing and manipulation, casting doubt on the official narrative.
Tehran metro managing director Masood Dorosti denied any “verbal or physical conflict” between Garawand and passengers or metro staff. Iranian state media interviewed two girls claiming to be Garawand’s friends who supported this account. However, Hengaw argued that these interviews and state-controlled media reports “remain unverifiable.”
Amnesty expressed “serious concerns” about the circumstances under which Garawand’s family and friends appeared in propaganda videos supporting the state’s narrative, alleging that they may have done so under duress and threats of reprisals.
In a related incident, Iranian journalist Maryam Lotfi was briefly detained after attempting to report on Armita Garawand’s condition at Fajr Hospital, according to her publication, Shargh newspaper.
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