The Manila Times

Amini’s grave vandalized – lawyer

PARIS: The grave of Mahsa Amini, the young Kurdish Iranian woman whose death sparked a protest movement that rattled Iran’s clerical leadership, has been vandalized, activists and her family’s lawyer said.

Amini, 22, died last September 16 after being arrested by Tehran’s morality police for purportedly flouting the strict dress rules for women in the Islamic republic.

The protests that began after her death challenged the Islamic system that has ruled the country since the 1979 revolution. They have weakened in amplitude over the last months, but actions still continue.

Amini, who had been visiting the capital Tehran with her family, is buried in her hometown of Saqez in Kurdistan province with activists alleging that the authorities are determined to prevent any public rallying around it.

The France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) said the grave, which features her Kurdish name Zhina in large Persian letters, had been attacked on the morning of May 21.

Images published on social media, said to be from the Instagram account of her brother Ashkan, showed that the glass protecting a portrait of Amini at the head of the tombstone had shattered.

“Sadly, on Sunday morning, people who are already known to us, and who have done the same things in the past, attacked the grave of Zhina Mahsa Amini,” the family’s lawyer Saleh Nikbakht said in a statement published by KHRN.

He did not specify who these individuals were, while adding the authorities had previously intervened to prevent the construction of a protective canopy over the grave.

“So the glass of your tombstone also bothers them? Let them break it a thousand times, we will make it again. Let’s see who gets tired,” Ashkan said in his social media post.

Amini’s family and supporters maintain she was killed by a blow to the head while in police custody, although the authorities have so far insisted her death was caused by a heart attack brought on by previous ill health.

Activists accuse the authorities of suppressing the protests with a crackdown that has left over 500 dead, Norway-based nongovernmental organization Iran Human Rights said.

Iran has also hanged seven men in protest-related cases in what campaigners describe as a deliberate policy to create a climate of fear through capital punishment.

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