DUBAI: Two men were killed in Iran on Monday (September 19th) during protests over the death of a young woman while in the custody of morality police, a Kurdish rights group said, as protests sparked by the incident continued for a third day.
Mahsa Amini, 22, fell into a coma and died after she was arrested in Tehran last week by morality police enforcing strict hijab rules, sparking protests in many areas, including the Kurdish region from where she came from Tehran and other cities.
Rights group Hengaw said the pair were killed in the town of Divandarreh, a part of Iran’s Kurdish region where protests have been most intense.
There has been no official confirmation of the deaths. State television said a number of protesters had been arrested, but dismissed “some death claims on social media” by showing two injured youths who denied reports they had been killed. Their names were different from those in the Hengaw report.
Reuters could not independently verify Hengaw’s report.
“During Monday’s protests in the town of Divandarreh, at least two citizens – Fouad Qadimi and Mohsen Mohammadi – died after being taken to Kosar Hospital in Sanandaj and 15 others were injured,” Hengaw said on Twitter. He didn’t say how they died.
A video posted to Twitter earlier by Hengaw showed protesters throwing rocks as a man could be heard saying: “There is a war in Divandarreh. The damn (police) officers are attacking.”
Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.
Amini’s death has been condemned across the country, with the Persian hashtag #MahsaAmini reaching nearly 2 million mentions on Twitter.
Iranian police earlier Monday said his death was an “unfortunate incident” and denied the ill-treatment charges.
Iran’s morality police enforce strict rules imposed since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, requiring women to cover their hair and wear loose clothing in public.
In Washington, a White House spokesman said there must be accountability for Amini’s death.
“The death of Mahsa Amini from injuries sustained while in police custody for wearing an ‘inappropriate’ hijab is an appalling and flagrant affront to human rights,” a spokesman for the National Security Council said. White House.