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Prisoners

US Condemns “Unjust” Detention of Iranian Activists

November 1, 2023
2 min read
Matthew Miller, spokesman for the US State Department
Matthew Miller, spokesman for the US State Department

The United States has condemned the Iranian authorities’ “violent assault and unjust detention” of human rights defenders during the funeral for a 16-year-old girl who was assaulted at a Tehran metro station for not wearing a mandatory headscarf.

Two relatives of the victim, Armita Garavand, and several peaceful activists were detained by security forces during the October 29 ceremony at Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, including prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

“The United States calls for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Ms. Sotoudeh and others detained unjustly by the regime,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement on October 31.

“We once again condemn the Iranian regime’s horrific treatment of its own people, including its campaign of violence against the women and girls of Iran,” Miller said, adding that the United States “will continue to stand with the brave people of Iran and work with the international community to hold the regime accountable for its human rights abuses at home and abroad.”

The European Union, the United States and other countries have issued multiple rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in recent months over its clampdown on dissent. 

Armita Garavand died on October 28 after being in a coma in a Tehran hospital since October 1, when she lost consciousness on the city’s metro. 

The authorities said the teenager had fallen and injured her head after suffering a sudden drop in blood pressure, but reports suggest that she was physically assaulted by a hijab enforcement officer.

On October 29, US national-security advisor Jake Sullivan said he was “deeply saddened” by Armita’s death.

“Iran’s state-sponsored violence against its own people is appalling and underscores the fragility of the regime,” he wrote on the social media platform X.

German Foreign Minister Baerbock also expressed her dismay at Armita's death and said on X: “The future of Iran is its youth. The future of Iran is its women. The regime cannot suppress their desire for freedom.”

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