In Memory of Mahsa Amini: Iranian Women Fight Back

A blog post by Kaylin Bridglall, Junior Associate

Iran is facing severe social unrest following the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022.[1] Mahsa Amini, 22 years old, was arrested by the Iranian Morality Police for wearing skinny jeans and her hijab incorrectly in violation of the country’s dress code.[2] The Iranian Morality Police are tasked with enforcing the Islamic code of conduct and enforcing a strict dress code.[3] Her family claims that she was beaten and struck several times with a baton while in government custody, leading to her death.[4] Police say that she suffered a heart attack.[5] In the wake of her death, nationwide protests have begun and hundreds of Iranians have been killed or sentenced to death for participation.[6]Many have viewed her death as the catalyst for the unrest, but the unrest is also being fueled by long-standing unhappiness and built-up resentment over poverty, unemployment, inequality, injustice, and corruption in the country.[7]

            The protests are a call for reform in the country to end or change the compulsory hijab law as well as other laws that deprive women of their autonomy and rights.[8] The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that Iran is in a “full-fledged human rights crisis” and is calling for investigation into the human rights violations occurring.[9] This is a revolution fueled by the discontent of the Iranian people to stand up to their oppressive government. Women have set their headscarves on fire in protest of the strictly enforced dress code.[10] The human rights violations occuring in Iran are horrific and the lack of accountability is Iran is both sickening and disheartening.[11] UN human rights experts have highlighted the atrocious human rights violations including killings of protestors, alleged arbitrary arrests and detentions, gender-based and sexual violence, excessive use of force, torture, and enforced disappearances.[12] There are reports of physical and sexual abuse against women and girls during the protests, that is occurring both publicly and privately in detention.[13] The world cannot idly sit by while the women and people of Iran are fighting for their rights and paying with their lives.




[1] Joshua Askew, Iran protests: What caused them? Are they different this time? Will the regime fall?, ᴇᴜʀᴏ ɴᴇᴡs (Nov. 30, 2022),

[2] Id.

[3] Siavash Ardalan and Marita Moloney, Uncertainty over Iran’s Morality Police after official’s ‘disbanded’ remarks, ʙʙᴄ ɴᴇᴡs (Dec. 5, 2022),

[4] Askew, supra note 1.

[5] Ardalan, supra note 3.

[6] Telee Rebane, Adam Pourahmadi, and Jomana Karadsheh, Iran hangs protestor in first known execution related to mass demonstrations, ᴄɴɴ ɴᴇᴡs (Dec. 8, 2022),

[7] Ardalan, supra note 3.

[8] Tara Sepehri Far, Women Dies in Custody of Iran’s ‘Morality Police’, ʜᴜᴍᴀɴ ʀɪɢʜᴛs ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ (Sept. 16, 2022),

[9] Rebane, supra note 6.

[10] Ardalan, supra note 3.

[11] Iran: 40 people killed in protests over the past week, ᴜɴɪᴛᴇᴅ ɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴs (Nov. 22, 2022),

[12] Iran: Crackdown on peaceful protests since death of Jina Mahsa Amini needs independent international investigation, says UN experts, ᴜɴɪᴛᴇᴅ ɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴs (Oct. 26, 2022),

[13] Id.

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