The harrowing ordeal of Armita Geravand marked the start and end of October
October in Iran started with the brutal assault on Armita Geravand by a Hijab patrol and ended with the unfortunate news of her death, and the tremendous pressure the intelligence and security services imposed on her family to prevent any uncontrolled moves during her burial and funeral ceremony.
The world condemned this murder and called for an independent investigation of the case.
However, the tragic loss of Armita Geravand, a young woman of innocence and immense talent, is a void that can never be filled. She paid the ultimate price while resisting the oppressive mandates imposed by the clerical regime on the Iranian populace, particularly the compulsory veil enforced on women and girls.
Right from the outset, Iranian intelligence services assumed control of the case. They besieged the hospital, tightly restricted access to the victim and her family, and ultimately announced her demise through a uniform report published across all state-run media and the press.
The clerical regime’s parliament hastily pushed through the Hijab and Chastity Bill just in time for the anniversary of the 2022 Iran uprising. Even before the bill’s official adoption, the State Security Force and other relevant agencies had already imposed stringent restrictions and severe penalties on women and businesses that dared to defy the regime’s mandatory veiling requirement.
This unyielding approach had tragic consequences, resulting in the grievous injury and eventual death of Armita Geravand, at the hands of the regime’s Hijab patrols.
Hence, in this issue of the NCRI Women’s Committee’s monthly bulletin, we aim to shed light on the case of Armita Geravand, the most recent victim of the clerical regime’s relentless pursuit to revive its lost authority.
Who was Armita Geravand and what happened to her?
Armita Geravand was born on April 2, 2006, in the city of Kermanshah, western Iran. She lived and went to school in Tehran.
Armita enjoyed excellent physical and mental health. She was a talented athlete who achieved a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo and was a member of a martial arts team in Tehran. She was also a passionate painter.
Armita Geravand was attacked by a Hijab patrol in a Tehran metro station on Sunday, October 1. The attack was so severe that she sustained head trauma and slipped into a coma.
Her friends recounted the horrifying scene, describing how her head was bleeding. One of the passengers, apparently a nurse or a doctor, administered CPR at the metro station before Armita was swiftly transported by ambulance to Tehran’s Fajr Hospital, associated with the Army’s Medical Sciences University.
According to an unverified report on October 3, a source from inside the Fajr Hospital said Armita’s consciousness level was 3, her pupils were unresponsive to light, and she was near brain death. She had suffered a brain hemorrhage due to a blow to her head, and her chances of survival were, unfortunately low.
According to this source, a section had been completely evacuated and placed under the full protection of security forces.
Strict security measures put in place to control the situation
The Fajr Hospital was already surrounded by intelligence agents, security forces, and plainclothes agents.
No one was allowed to see Armita Geravand, even her parents. The mobile phones of all members of Armita’s family were confiscated by security forces fearing leakage of any recorded images.
Maryam Lotfi, a reporter from Sharq Daily, who went to the Fajr Hospital at noon on Monday, October 2, 2023, to prepare a report on the situation of Armita Geravand, was arrested. She was released after a few hours. (The state-run Rouydad24.ir, October 2, 2023)
Her friends who took her to the hospital spent three days in custody.
Moreover, the security forces of the Education Ministry (Herasat) and a team of security services went to the Orvat ol-Vosgha School of Art, where Armita Geravand studied. They reportedly threatened all students and friends of Armita to refrain from posting or sharing any information or photos of her, and from speaking to the media.
All of Armita’s relatives in Kuhdasht, Lorestan, were under security surveillance and pressure.
All these security measures aimed to prevent access to a girl who, the regime claims, had collapsed due to a sudden drop in blood pressure.
The public’s narrative, however, is totally different from the clerical regime’s account.
Broadcast of stage-managed interviews and doctored footage
On October 3, two days after the incident, Armita’s parents were interviewed by IRNA TV, associated with the Iranian official news agency, IRNA.
The interview with Bahman Geravand and Shahin Ahmadi was carried out in the hospital in the heavy presence of security officials.
In the short interview, her mother said she had been told that Armita’s blood pressure dropped and her head hit the edge of the metro (wagon). “In the morning she went to school. She was supposed to see her friends at the Shohada Metro Station. Now, when they went there… I think my daughter’s pressure… I think her blood pressure dropped, I don’t know… I think… Well, they said that her (blood) pressure dropped. OK? … Her pressure dropped or… Anyway, she fell down and her head hit the edge of the metro.” (The state-run IRNA24 TV, October 3, 2023)
The interview revealed that Armita’s parents were not certain of what happened to her.
An unknown woman, identified as “a relative,” accompanied Armita’s parents during the interview. She “completed” their statements by adding that the guidance patrol attack on the young woman was a rumor disseminated by enemies of the state.
Social media users later identified the woman as Kowsar Jowhari, a teacher in Shahriar and a member of the city’s paramilitary Basij. She was not in any way related to the Geravand family.
An electronic newspaper, FARAZ, interviewed Armita’s father, who said he was at work and did not have any information on her daughter who was in a coma. The father’s comment raised many eyebrows! The editor of the newspaper later denied publishing the interview.
In the meantime, Armita’s friends, Mahla and Fatemeh, were interviewed by IRNA. In unemotional comments, they repeated the regime’s narrative of what happened on that early morning, when they were going to school.
The clerical regime disseminated and edited footage of the entrance of Armita Geravand and her friends to the metro wagon, abruptly followed by a scene where her friends were carrying her out.
Subsequently, the authorities released a longer and obviously “edited” version of the CCTV footage to prove that no confrontation took place at the metro station.
While CCTV cameras are installed in all metro wagons, no footage was made available from inside the wagon, where Armita Geravand “fainted.”
Armita’s mother is arrested, witnesses leak out info
The clerical regime’s security services violently arrested Shahin Ahmadi, the mother of Armita Geravand, on the evening of Wednesday, October 4, 2023, at the Fajr Hospital, social media reports and human rights groups said.
She was released and returned to the Fajr Hospital on Thursday night, October 5, after 24 hours of detention, and after she gave a written commitment not to give out any information.
The state-run Tasnim news agency denied the arrest.
On October 5, The Guardian published eyewitness accounts indicating that there was an altercation, which led to Armita’s cerebral hemorrhage and loss of consciousness. Excerpts:
A witness claimed that soon after Armita entered the carriage a female hijab enforcer started arguing with her because she wasn’t wearing a headscarf. “The chador-clad woman screamed at her asking her why was she not covered. Armita then told her ‘Do I ask you to remove your headscarf? Why are you asking me to wear one?’ Their argument then turned violent. The hijab enforcer started physically attacking Armita and … violently pushed her.”
Another witness said Armita was still conscious when she fell on the ground. Witnesses claimed they spotted the same hijab enforcer waiting behind the ambulance that took Armita to the hospital.
State news has not carried any footage from inside the train itself and offered no explanation on why it hadn’t been released. Most train cars on the Tehran metro have multiple CCTV cameras, which are viewable by security personnel. Opposition figures say the clock on the footage shows at least 100 seconds is missing. [End of excerpts from The Guardian]
Reports of declining vital signs
An official website affiliated with the clerical regime’s Ministry of Sports and Youths announced on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, that the relatively steady vital signs of Armita Geravand had changed over the past few days and her condition had deteriorated to some extent.
The report by the state-run BORNA news agency, removed after being published, indicated that the efforts of the medical team to help her recover continue.
Despite the removal of the report, some state media, including khabaronline.ir and hamshahrionline.ir published the news citing BORNA news.
According to social media reports, the medical team caring for Armita Geravand had told security officials based in the Fajr Hospital that since she no longer had any reactions or vital signs, she had most definitely suffered brain death.
They said her continued connection to medical devices was no longer justified, and her family should be informed of her brain death, which means her death.
In reaction to this news, Ms. Sarvnaz Chitsaz, the chair of the NCRI Women’s Committee, said, “The state-run websites’ report on the deterioration of Armita Geravand’s condition could be a preparation for announcing her death. It is surprising, however, that the regime did not officially give any specific information about the condition of 16-year-old Armita until Wednesday night, October 11, although they had said she was in a coma a week before.
“Given the experience of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini, the regime clearly has a specific scenario for covering up the truth about Armita.”
Conflicting reports on Armita’s brain death
The Iranian state media, including the state-run Tasnim news agency, the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN), Borna news agency, and others announced on Sunday, October 22, 2023, that Armita Geravand seemed certain to be “brain dead.”
IRINN reported that “follow-ups on the latest health condition of Armita Geravand indicate that her health condition as brain dead seems certain despite the efforts of the medical staff.”
The news was followed by contradicting reports from other sources.
The Norway-based Hengaw group that first reported on Armita Geravand cited an interview with her father, Bahman Geravand, who said, “Armita’s medical team has informed us that her brain is no longer functioning, and there is no hope of recovery.”
However, Radio Farda, the Persian branch of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), cited two members of Armita’s family on the same day, October 22, who denied her being “brain dead.” However, they added, “Nothing could be done for her at this stage,” and “everything is in the hands of God.”
Both family members expressed “hope that she would return.” They said the medical team had assured them, “that if Armita was brain dead, they would not have taken care of her until today.”
Yet other unverified reports said the devices had been disconnected from her at 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 22, and she had been transferred to the morgue. Her family was told to be prepared for her burial.
Official announcement of Armita’s death
After 28 days of foot-dragging and leaking conflicting reports, the criminal Iranian regime finally announced the death of Iran’s beloved daughter, Armita Geravand.
At 9:57 am, Saturday, October 28, 2023, the clerical regime’s official news agency IRNA announced, “Armita Geravand, a Tehrani student, passed away.”
Other state media published the same dictated cliché report.
The official narrative was that she fainted due to a sudden drop in blood pressure as she was walking into a metro wagon with her friends. Her head hit “the outer edge of the station!!” and she was injured. Her head was hit so strongly that she initially suffered a cardiac arrest but she came back with the help of several citizens who helped resuscitate her.
“Unfortunately, the damage to her brain caused her to go into a coma for some time, and she passed away a few minutes ago.”
“According to the official opinion of doctors,” IRNA added, “Armita Geravand collapsed after a sudden drop in blood pressure, suffered a brain injury, followed by continuous convulsions, decreased cerebral oxygenation, and cerebral edema.”
Armita Geravand is laid to rest amid stringent security measures
The authorities reportedly refused to hand over Armita’s body to her family. They insisted that the family was not permitted to take her body to Kermanshah. Instead, they said, security forces would conduct the burial in Tehran to prevent protests similar to those that occurred in the case of Zhina (Mahsa) Amini.
Armita Geravand was laid to rest Sunday morning, October 29, 2023, in the midst of stringent security measures in Tehran’s sprawling Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery with the presence of family members and a large crowd.
According to one of Armita’s relatives, her family had been “pressured by security forces” to agree to bury her in Tehran. Another relative said, “Although we reside in Tehran, we do not bury our deceased in Tehran.”
The number of plainclothes agents and State Security forces stationed in section 99 of Behesht-e Zahra exceeded the number of participants in the burial ceremony of Armita Geravand.
At least 15 relatives and participants were detained by the security forces.
Published images showed that security forces erected metal barriers around the burial site, preventing people from getting close to Armita’s grave.
In videos released from the burial ceremony, some of the attendees are chanting, “This perished flower is a gift to the homeland.”
State security forces and plainclothes agents also swarmed Jaberi mosque where Armita’s funeral was held. They beat and brutalized a number of people outside the mosque to prevent their participation.
Inside the mosque, the men’s section was filled with members of the SSF Special Unit. Three notorious members of the IRGC were also seen actively running the burial procession. Hossein Izadi, a mid-level commander in the IRGC’s Joint Staff, Hossein Khoshnazar, head of the human resource center of the IRGC and head of the recruitment department of Tehran’s Metro Company, Mostafa Nowruzi, head of the Services Battalion of the IRGC’s Joint Staff who is the head of security of Tehran’s metro system.
From their rooftops, Iranians protested the killing of Armita Geravand
Nighttime protests erupted in various cities across Iran, including Tehran, Karaj, and Shiraz, on the evening of Sunday, October 28, 2023, following the news of Armita Geravand’s death.
People in several areas of Tehran expressed their protest with slogans such as “Armita Geravand, your path continues.”
Protesters in Tehran’s Saadat Abad district chanted, “Death to the child-killing regime” and “I will kill, anyone who killed my sister” from inside homes and residential towers.
Other slogans included “Death to the Islamic Republic,” “Death to Khamenei the oppressor,” “Death to the principle of Velayat-e Faqih,” and “Khamenei the oppressor, we will bury you.”
The Ekbatan Township, in western Tehran, a hub of anti-regime protests during the 2022 Iran protests, saw renewed protests. The protesters chanted slogans such as “Death to the child-killing regime” and “Death to the dictator.”
Nighttime slogans were also heard in the Chitgar district in western Tehran and in some areas of Karaj, where protesters chanted slogans like “Death to the child-killing government,” and “Death to the dictator.”
The city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province, also witnessed nighttime slogans from some of the protesting people on Sunday evening. The protesters in Shiraz chanted slogans such as “Death to the dictator,” “Death to Khamenei,” and “Armita Geravand, your path continues.”
Students of Tehran’s Al-Zahra University posted posters in memory of Armita on Saturday, October 28.
Two young men who protested Armita’s murder were arrested in Dehloran and Abdanan, in Ilam Province.
Evidence of an official cover-up
On October 4, the NCRI President-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi urged the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women to promptly inquire about Armita’s condition and dispatch a representative to visit the innocent girl before it becomes too late.
She said, “If the clerical regime has nothing to hide in the case of 16-year-old Armita Geravand…, why are they surrounding the hospital and preventing independent journalists from gaining access?”
Amnesty International issued a call on Friday, October 6, urging an independent investigation into what happened to Geravand, saying there was “mounting evidence of a cover-up by the authorities.”
Amnesty said it had analyzed footage published by Iranian media that purportedly showed there was no altercation and found that the footage had been edited, the frame rate increased and over three minutes of footage was missing.
Amnesty said it had “serious concerns” that Geravand’s family and friends “have been forced to appear in propaganda videos and reiterate the state narrative under duress and threats of reprisals.”
Agnes Callamard, AI Secretary-General said, “I am aggrieved and outraged that the life of yet another young person, this time 16-year-old Armita Garawand – was cut cruelly short in connection to Iran’s abusive and degrading compulsory veiling laws. Those responsible for Armita Garawand’s unlawful death must face justice.
Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, expressed her dismay over the tragic news concerning Armita Geravand. He called on the Iranian regime to immediately annul the laws on mandatory Hijab.
Noting long-term imprisonment verdicts issued for opponents of the compulsory Hijab, he said Iranian women and girls were subjected to gender apartheid and discrimination.
Reem Alsalem UNSR on Violence Against Women and Girls said, “Disturbing news Armita Garavand died after violence reportedly by morality police that left her in a coma for several weeks. Potential parallels with circumstances leading to Mahsa Amini’s death are concerning. The government of Iran cannot afford to fail again on the investigation and accountability front. Impunity is incompatible with non-repetition.
Iranian regime wary of protests in the wake of Armita’s death
Speculations are that Armita had suffered brain death from the outset, otherwise, why did the authorities prevent any access to Armita, by her parents, friends, or journalists? Why the hospital was placed under heavy security control?
Indeed, even if one accepts that Armita collapsed due to a sudden drop in her blood pressure, how could she hit her head so hard to an iron edge in a packed metro wagon while being surrounded by friends and other passengers?
The Iranian regime was worried that the news of Armita Geravand’s death could provoke nationwide protests similar to the ones sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in September last year that continued for months.
By disseminating conflicting reports, the regime attempted to reduce the shock and prevent the eruption of public anger.
Finally, after several tests, the regime picked a moment when global attention was elsewhere to announce her death. A weekend, when all international news agencies work with limited staff and people are on vacation, and the news is completely overshadowed by the death and destruction in the Middle East.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran offered its condolences for the loss of Armita Geravand, which tragically echoes the death of Zhina Amini at the hands of state agents. The NCRI Women’s Committee holds Ali Khamenei, Ebrahim Raisi, Gholam Hossein Ejei, and their mayor in Tehran directly responsible for this murder, a heinous crime that has outraged all the people of Iran, especially women.
The NCRI Women’s Committee urges the UN fact-finding mission to investigate this crime.
After the Jina Amini case, the oppressive clerical regime attempted to conceal the truth by obscuring facts, disseminating false and misleading information, and pressuring the innocent girl’s family and associates.
Since last night, and prior to the announcement of the death of Armita, the repressive State Security Force has cordoned off Fajr Hospital, where she was hospitalized, in an effort to deter any potential protests.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI President-elect extended her condolences over the loss of Armita Geravand. She said, “Once again, the religious fascism ruling Iran has taken an innocent girl from us under the bogus excuse of improper veiling.
“The repressive forces aim to prevent people’s uprising and protest by besieging the hospital and employing oppressive measures. Yet, they are unaware that the people, especially the youth of Iran, as well as my fellow Iranian girls and women, remain determined to overthrow the mullahs’ regime and replace it with democracy and people’s sovereignty.”
Mrs. Rajavi commented on the ruling mullahs’ demagoguery under the name of Islam, and reiterated, “The inhumane and misogynistic policies and practices of the mullahs’ regime against women have nothing to do with Islam and the Quran and are only a means to continue the disgraceful rule of the Velayat-e Faqih regime. No to compulsory religion, no to compulsory government, and no to compulsory hijab.”
The NCRI Women’s Committee calls on the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran and the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, along with all women’s rights advocates, to denounce the systematic, brutal suppression of Iranian women and girls, as well as the discrimination they face. Furthermore, it urges the UN Security Council to include the punishment of the clerical regime on its agenda.