Inside Iran’s twisted morality police, who snatch women off the streets with noose bars and beat them for breaking Islamic law

THE brutal death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s vice squad has sparked days of nationwide protests.

Mahsa, 22, was beaten to death by vice squads after she was arrested in the capital Tehran for violating the country’s strict hijab laws.

The woman's death has sparked protests across the country, with many arrested for violating hijab laws

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The woman’s death has sparked protests across the country, with many arrested for violating hijab lawsCredit: AP
The Vice Police are tasked with arresting women who violate Iran's conservative dress code

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The Vice Police are tasked with arresting women who violate Iran’s conservative dress code
An Iranian woman screams as she stands in a morality police van after being arrested

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An Iranian woman screams as she stands in a morality police van after being arrestedPhoto credit: Getty
Iranian protesters take to the streets of Tehran over Mahsa Amini's death

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Iranian protesters take to the streets of Tehran over Mahsa Amini’s deathPhoto credit: AFP
An Iranian woman gestures while speaking to two morality police officers in Tehran

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An Iranian woman gestures while speaking to two morality police officers in TehranPhoto credit: Getty

She was allegedly arrested because she had some hair showing under her headscarf – which Iranian women are required by law to wear.

And Mahsa then went into a coma, collapsing briefly in the detention center and dying in the hospital three days later.

Morality police have denied smashing her head in with a baton and hitting one of their vehicles.

Her death has sparked angry protests across the country, many calling for the ruthless vice police to be disbanded.

Deadly protests escalate as women burn hijabs over the horrific death of a girl at the hands of police
Unrest in Iran as police officers open fire on protesters after a woman was beaten by police officers

Female protesters have burned hijabs in the streets and riots have erupted, killing at least eight people in clashes with police officers and counter-protesters.

Under Iranian law, which is based on the country’s interpretation of Sharia, women are required to cover their hair with a hijab and wear long, loose-fitting clothing.

The vice squad — also known as the Guidance Patrol — is tasked with arresting women who break the conservative dress code.

Tasked with ensuring that Islamic morals are respected, they spend their days patrolling busy public spaces in green-and-white vans to crack down on “inappropriate” behavior and dress.

Women arrested by police are either given a warning or put in a van and taken to a “correctional facility” or police station, where they are taught how to dress before being released to their male relatives .

Since the 1980s, many women have been beaten to death or tortured into false confessions by callous vice police.

A disaffected morale cop said it felt like they were “going on the hunt” with teams purposely picking a busy spot to patrol and mug women.

He told the BBC: “They told us the reason we work for the morality police units is to protect women.

“Because if they don’t dress properly, men could be provoked and harm them.

“It’s weird because if we just want to guide people, why do we have to pick a place that has a lot of work to do, which potentially means we could arrest more people?

“It’s like we’re going hunting.”

He added: “They expect us to force them into the van. Do you know how many times I cried while doing this?

“I want to tell them that I’m not one of them. Most of us are private soldiers doing compulsory military service. I am feeling so bad.”

Morale Police units are often made up of the Basij – a paramilitary force originally deployed in the 1980s in the Iran-Iraq War.

As early as 1979, the leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, decided that hijabs would be compulsory for all women in their workplaces, and considered uncovered women to be “nude”.

Although there were widespread protests, from 1981 women and girls were required by law to wear modest “Islamic” clothing.

They expect us to force them into the van. Do you know how many times I burst into tears?

morale cop

In 1983, lawmakers ruled that women who do not cover their hair in public could be punished with 74 lashes.

Cops often struggle to enforce the strict laws – many women often cross borders, wearing close-fitting coats and brightly colored headscarves.

But dozens of women have suffered at the hands of the vice squad over the past 40 years.

In 2007, Zahra Bani-Yaghoub was arrested in a park in the western city of Hamedan while she was with her fiancé.

Two days later, police said she was found dead in a detention center after allegedly taking her own life.

Her body was bruised and her nose and eyes were bleeding – and Zahra’s father accused the morality police of assaulting and murdering his daughter.

In 2018, a morality police van was filmed dragging a student down the street in Tehran.

The young woman was seen hanging from the front of the van as it drove on. What happened to the woman is unclear.

Earlier this year, Sepideh Rashnu, a 28-year-old artist, was arrested after she was filmed arguing about hijab with a woman on a bus.

Two weeks later, she appeared on state television, battered and injured, and made a forced confession.

And days after the confession video, Rashnu was reportedly taken to the hospital at risk of internal bleeding.

Insiders said she suffers from low blood pressure and has trouble walking.

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She was later reportedly charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “promoting corruption and prostitution”.

Mahsa’s death has reignited urgent calls to take down the morality police and end their role in policing women’s behavior and dress.

Mahsa died after being arrested by vice squads in the capital, Tehran

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Mahsa died after being arrested by vice squads in the capital, TehranPhoto credit: Newsflash
Mahsa lies on a hospital bed after being beaten by police

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Mahsa lies on a hospital bed after being beaten by policePhoto credit: Newsflash

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6280628/inside-irans-twisted-morality-police-women/ Inside Iran’s twisted morality police, who snatch women off the streets with noose bars and beat them for breaking Islamic law

DevanCole

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