An image of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, is displayed on a pole during a protest following her death, in Los Angeles, California, US, September 22, 2022

Hijab Victim Mahsa Amini's Case Stagnates, No Trial Scheduled

Sunday, 04/28/2024

The legal proceedings in Mahsa Amini's case have hit a standstill, as her family's lawyer lamented in an interview that the case is still in the prosecutor's office, and no trial has been held."

Amini's tragic death occurred on September 16, 2022, in Kasra Hospital, Tehran, following her arrest by Iran's morality police for alleged improper hijab, igniting nationwide protests. She had received fatal head wounds and was in a coma for three days.

Her family filed a complaint in 2022 against those responsible for her arrest and subsequent treatment by the police. 

Iranian authorities initially claimed Amini suffered a heart attack at a police station, leading to her collapse and coma before hospitalization. However, the state’s forensic authorities later suggested her death might be linked to thyroid medication, a claim disputed by her family. As previously reported by Nikbakht during his interview with Faraz Daily website, access to critical medical reports from Kasra Hospital had been denied, hindering independent assessments. But photos taken on her hospital bed showed what appeared to be severe head injuries received soon after she was arrested.

Over 800 members of Iran's Medical Council accused the head of the organization of aiding the government in concealing the circumstances of Amini's death. Last month, the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission concluded that her death was unlawful, holding the State responsible for physical violence in custody.

Saleh Nikbakht, the lawyer representing Jina Mahsa Amini’s family, during a ceremony to receive the European parliament’s 2023 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which was awarded to Mahsa Amini

Amini's death triggered widespread protests from September 2022 to January 2023, known as the Woman Life Freedom protests. The government responded with a violent crackdown, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.

Nikbakht and other legal experts advocate for public court trials, highlighting the secretive nature of Revolutionary Courts where sensitive political cases are often heard.

Nikbakht emphasized, "Last year, the trial of a number of lawyers accused of propagandizing against the regime was held in private, and the aforementioned lawyers were convicted and deprived of some social rights."

Iran's US-sanctioned judiciary chief, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i this week stated that he was in favor of public hearings "except for the cases that the constitution does not allow."

Criticism has also been directed at the Revolutionary Courts for their handling of cases related to the 2022 protests, with many protestors receiving harsh sentences, including execution and long-term imprisonment. Nikbakht himself faced charges of propaganda against the regime and was sentenced to one year in prison, while journalists reporting on Amini's death were similarly imprisoned.

Despite the legal stalemate surrounding Amini's case, the authorities swiftly conducted the trial of Amini's uncle, Safa Aeli, who was arbitrarily arrested and tortured in 2023. Aeli was sentenced to five years in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Saqez for charges including participation in protests, spreading propaganda against the regime, and insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was denied access to legal representation, highlighting ongoing human rights concerns in Iran and the lack of due process in legal proceedings in Iran's judiciary.

More News