The family of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who was killed last year while in police custody, was prevented from holding a ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of her death, rights groups said on Saturday.
Amini’s father, Amjad Amini, was briefly detained in the western town of Saqez, her hometown. Authorities then released him after he was warned against holding a memorial service at her graveside, several human rights groups that focus on Iran said.
Iran’s IRNA state news agency denied the arrest but did not clarify if Amini was briefly detained or warned.
State media, meanwhile, reported the arrest of several “counter-revolutionaries” and “terrorists” across the country, saying that security forces had foiled plans to create disturbances around illegal demonstrations.
Amini died following her arrest by the morality police, after allegedly failing to adhere to the country’s strict Islamic dress code. Her death sparked anger on the streets of Iran, particularly in Kurdish areas, prompting many women protesters to take off their headscarves.
Iranian president meets families of killed police
Meanwhile, on Friday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with families of security personnel who were killed during the Amini-inspired protests, which stretched mostly throughout the later months of last year and early this year. The symbolic move was done during a visit to the northeastern city of Mashhad.
On Saturday, authorities deployed a massive security presence, especially in Iran’s Kurdish-dominated areas, in anticipation of unrest, human rights groups said.
“Iranian authorities are trying to impose a chokehold on dissent to prevent public commemoration of Mahsa Jina Amini’s death in custody,” said New York-based Human Rights Watch’s senior Iran researcher, Tara Sepehri Far.
The US, meanwhile, said it would sanction over two dozen individuals and entities with ties to Iran’s “violent suppression” of protests.
“Mahsa’s story did not end with her brutal death. She inspired a historic movement — Woman, Life, Freedom — that has impacted Iran and influenced people across the globe,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday.
Several protests are also planned on Saturday in many cities across the world to commemorate the anniversary, including in Washington and Berlin.
According to rights groups, more than 500 people have died in the crackdown on protesters in Iran, while thousands have been arrested. Seven more are believed to have been executed by Iranian authorities in relation to the protests.
This article was originally published on DW.