A man views a newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police" in Tehran, Iran September 18, 2022.

Hacked Documents Confirm Concerted Cover-Up Of Mahsa Amini’s Killing

Thursday, 02/22/2024
Maryam Sinaiee

A British Iranian journalist and political analyst and a regular contributor to Iran International

Hacked documents have confirm that Iranian authorities made concerted attempts to cover up the role of the morality police in the killing of Mahsa (Jina) Amini and to prevent eruption of anti-government protests.

The documents, provided to Iran International by the hacktivist group Edalat-e Ali, reveal that immediately after her death on September 16, 2022, security forces sought to coerce her family and relatives into corroborating their claim that her death in the custody of the morality police was due to an "underlying medical condition."

The 22-year-old woman, from Iran’s Kurdish populated region, sustained serious injuries after her arrest for "inadequate" hijab and died three days later after falling into a coma at a hospital in Tehran. Her death sparked several months of protests across the country that were harshly suppressed.

The documents also shed light on the various measures authorities took to silence the media, control social media, and suppress any protests with an iron fist before they could spread further.

Among the millions of files released on its Telegram channel by Edalat-e Ali are highly confidential minutes of a meeting of the National Security Council held two days after Amini’s death. These minutes indicate that despite pressure from security forces, Amini’s family refused to endorse the official account of her death and insisted on disclosing the true cause.

“It would be very effective if the father mentions the [underlying] medical condition in a short interview,” Brigadier General Mehdi Sayyari, then acting chief of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) intelligence organization (SAS) said at the meeting.

Brigadier General Mehdi Sayyari, the acting chief of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) intelligence organization (SAS) during 2022 protests

Another official said that they were going to summon a half-brother of Amini’s mother for “warning” him, presumably about the family’s statements to the media.

Mehdi Mahdavi-Azad, a journalist based in Germany, told Iran International TV that various security and judicial bodies of the regime were aware of the truth behind Amini’s death but collaborated to pressure the family into covering it up. "They also knew well that the media only sought to reveal the truth but conspired to hide it from them," he said.

"The family played a pivotal role in the expansion of the Mahsa Movement because from the outset, they sought justice for her, refused to remain silent, demanded accountability from the Islamic Republic, and did not succumb to the ongoing pressures," said Avin Mostafazadeh, a human rights activist and spokesperson for the Kurdish rights organization Kordpa.

The same document also reveals that a medical professional identified as Dr Moradi declined an interview, presumably with state media, to confirm the authorities' version of events. This may refer to Dr Behzad Moradi, a forensic scientist.

Authorities expressed significant concern about the potential escalation of protests, fearing that they would not subside anytime soon, strengthen the movement against compulsory hijab rules, and eventually pose a more serious challenge to the regime than the 2019-2020 protests.

“The security system will get involved [in quelling protests] for weeks if we allow any protests to take shape,” an official said in one of the meetings of the National Security Council and stressed that the priority at that moment was to prevent people from convening to protest.

The Ministry of Intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards' intelligence organization (IRGC), and the police force also coordinated efforts to control and contain the activities of political figures, celebrities, journalists, and athletes whose support for the protesters could bolster their morale. This included psychological operations aimed at discrediting them.

Political activist Mohsen Sazegara commented on the regime’s attempts to isolate and silence such figures, saying, "They instill courage among the people when they stand against the government, and the government does not want that."

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