Iranian teen injured on Tehran Metro while not wearing headscarf dies

Armita Geravand's death may reignite anger as women still defy Iran's mandatory headscarf, or hijab, law

Armita Geravand is carried off a train in the Tehran Metro. Tehran Metro
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An Iranian teenage girl injured weeks ago in an incident on Tehran's Metro while not wearing a headscarf has died, state media reported on Saturday.

Armita Geravand died after weeks in a coma and a little over a year since the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who was detained for reportedly not wearing her headscarf, or hijab, in accordance with Iranian law.

Ms Geravand's death may reignite public anger, particularly as women in Tehran and elsewhere continue to defy the hijab law as a sign of their discontent with Iran's ruling theocracy.

Iran’s state-run Irna news agency reported Ms Geravand's death, without commenting on the wider unrest surrounding the headscarf law.

What happened in the few seconds after she entered the train on October 1 is unclear.

A friend told Iranian state television that Ms Geravand hit her head on the station’s platform, but video of the incident aired by state TV – taken from outside the train and without audio – is blocked by a bystander. Seconds later, her limp body is seen being carried away.

The TV’s report did not include video from inside the train. Most train cars on the Tehran Metro have several CCTV cameras.

Ms Geravand’s mother and father appeared in state media footage saying a blood pressure issue, a fall or perhaps both contributed to their daughter’s injury.

Campaigners abroad have alleged that Ms Geravand may have been pushed or attacked because she was not wearing the hijab. They also demanded an independent investigation by the UN's' fact-finding mission on Iran, citing the government use of pressure on victims’ families and state TV’s history of airing hundreds of coerced confessions.

Ms Geravand suffered her injury at the Meydan-E Shohada, or Martyrs’ Square, Metro station in southern Tehran.

Rumours about how she suffered the injury quickly circulated. Irna did not repeat the rumours in the report on her death.

“Unfortunately, the brain damage to the victim caused her to spend some time in a coma and she died a few minutes ago,” Irna said.

“According to the official theory of Armita Geravand's doctors, after a sudden drop in blood pressure, she suffered a fall, a brain injury, followed by continuous convulsions, decreased cerebral oxygenation and a cerebral oedema.”

Ms Geravand’s injury happened as Iran put its morality police – whom campaigners implicate in Ms Amini’s death – back on the street, and as lawmakers push to enforce even stricter penalties for women not wearing the required head covering in public.

Internationally, Ms Geravand’s injury sparked renewed criticism of Iran's treatment of women and of the hijab law.

Ms Amini died in a hospital on September 16, 2022, after she was detained by the morality police on allegations of improperly wearing the hijab. Suspicions that she was beaten during her arrest led to months of mass protests that presented the biggest challenge to Iran’s theocratic government since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Although large-scale protests have subsided, many women in Tehran go out in public without the hijab in defiance of the law.

Updated: October 29, 2023, 9:47 AM