“She was tortured”: Mahsa Amini’s family speaks out amid Iran protests

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The family of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in the custody of Iran’s morality police, is speaking out as the anti-government protests sparked by her death grow louder. 

As the country awaits a final coroner’s report, Amini’s father said she was beaten by the morality police, the enforcers of Iran’s strict dress code. Amini’s head covering was reportedly too loose when she was taken into custody. 

Her cousin, Erfan Mortezaei, who lives in self-exile in Iraq, believes she was tortured. 

“She was tortured, according to eyewitnesses,” he claimed. “She was tortured in the van after her arrest, then tortured at the police station for half an hour, then hit on her head and she collapsed.” 

Thousands paid respects at Amini’s burial in western Iran. 

Iran’s government is accusing the West, especially the United States, of fueling protester fury. The Foreign Ministry said Tehran will respond to “American violations of its sovereignty.” 

In response to Amini’s death, protesters have stoned images of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

“The old dictator is in his last days,” Mortezaei said when asked what he would tell Khamenei. 

The riots have been the biggest to rock Iran since 2019. Women, raging against rigid Iranian law, are illegally removing their head coverings and burning them. Men are joining them to protest a regime they all denounce as repressive. 

At least 75 people have been killed, according to watchdog Iran Human Rights, with that number expected to rise. 

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