Iranian teenager ‘brain dead’ after alleged metro encounter with police

An Iranian teenager who fell into a coma this month after an alleged encounter with officers over violating the country’s hijab law is said to be brain dead, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.

“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 Islamic Republic of Iran News Network said.

Iranian authorities have denied claims by rights groups that the 16-year-old was hurt in a confrontation on 1 October with officers enforcing the mandatory Islamic dress code on the Tehran metro.

The report on Geravand could revive countrywide protests sparked by the death of the 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of “morality police” in September last year for allegedly violating the dress code.

The news came as an Iranian court handed out long prison sentences to two journalists over their coverage of Amini’s death, state media reported.

The Iranian state news agency IRNA said Niloofar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi were sentenced to 13 and 12 years in prison respectively on charges including collaboration with the US government and acting against national security.

Lawyers for the two journalists have rejected the charges. Hamedi was detained after she took a picture of Amini’s parents hugging each other in a Tehran hospital where their daughter was lying in a coma, and Mohammadi after she covered Amini’s funeral in her Kurdish home town of Saqez, where the protests began.

IRNA said the “issued verdicts” were subject to appeal. If confirmed, the time the women have already spent at the Evin prison, where most political prisoners are held, would be deducted from the sentences, according to the judiciary’s Mizan news agency.