At 6:52 a.m., she took the escalator to a metro station in Iranian capital of Tehran, his short black hair uncovered. About 16 minutes later, the girl – identified by authorities and activists as Armita Geravand, 16 years old – lay, apparently unconscious, on the subway platform.
These details were gleaned from a mosaic of security camera footage broadcast by Iran’s state television network and reviewed by NBC News.
The grainy, silent footage does not appear to have been obviously manipulated and appears to cover much of her time inside the station on Sunday, except for an interval of just under 90 seconds before she does not reach the turnstiles.
However, the girl disappears from view at the crucial moment: a four-second period where she actually boards the subway train and ends up on the ground.
Human rights activists have called on Iranian authorities to release all security footage taken inside the car, which a leading Kurdish rights group says shows government agents physically assaulting him because she allegedly violated the country’s Islamic dress code.
Authorities denied this, saying Geravand had no altercation with the morality police, but rather passed out and hit her head after a drop in blood pressure.
A “public relations crisis”
Most trains in Tehran are equipped with multiple security cameras visible to guards, according to the Associated Press, leading critics of the government to question why it has not released footage from inside the train. car which would corroborate his version of the facts. But Iran’s official IRNA news agency interviewed a driver who said this train, number 134, did not.
“The door opened, three teenage students entered the train and just as they got on, seconds later she lost her balance and fell,” he said.
State media also interviewed people identified as Geravand’s parents and friends who were with her that day. They also said that there had been no contact with the morality police and that she had fallen suddenly.
Human rights groups frequently accuse Iranian authorities of forcing those involved in such incidents to make statements under duress.
Hengaw, an Iranian Kurdish rights group based in Norway, said Geravand had fallen into a coma following injuries it said were inflicted by morality police. “According to information obtained by” the group, she was “physically attacked by the authorities,” he said Tuesday.
The group also posted a photo that it said showed her bedridden in the intensive care unit of an Air Force hospital. Authorities imposed strict security measures around the hospital and his family.
Reuters, citing two unnamed prominent human rights activists in Iran, reported that she was in a coma and that security forces were heavily involved around the hospital.
The case attracted considerable attention on social media, echoing that of Mahsa Aminia 22-year-old Kurdish woman whose death in hospital after being arrested by morality police last year sparked massive protests.
Tehran has dismissed the growing global outrage and accused Western countries that have spoken out, including the United States, of “insincere concern.” He presented Friday’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi as further evidence of Western efforts to stoke tensions.
Still, the Geravand incident poses a potential “public relations crisis for the Islamic Republic, which seeks to prevent this from becoming a repeat of the Mahsa Amini protests,” said Sanam Vakil, Middle East and Africa program director. North at Chatham House, a London think tank.
What happened on the subway?
NBC News collected and analyzed several excerpts of footage published by Iranian state media that, when put together, trace much of Geravand’s progress through the station.
Shortly after 6:52 a.m. local time on Sunday (11:22 p.m. Sunday ET), a person identified by Iranian state television channels as Geravand entered Meydan-E Shohada, or Martyrs’ Square, a metro station in southern Tehran, according to security camera footage. .
She takes the escalator to the platform and goes through the turnstiles using her metro card, according to the film, some of which are accelerated.
After this, she is seen entering a store and heading towards the platform. She waits on the platform for the arrival and departure of a train, before boarding the last carriage of the next train.
Then four seconds later, at 7:08 a.m., another passenger steps out of the car onto the edge of the platform, crouching down to apparently attend to someone who is still inside the train and out of sight. looks.
This person, identified by Iranian state media as Geravand, is then carried out of the car, appearing motionless, placed on the platform and surrounded by other people as the train departs.
This is where the broadcast sequence ends, time stamped at 7:09 a.m.
This major gap in evidence has fueled demands from human rights groups for clarification of what happened in those four seconds, especially given what happened during the past year in Iran.
After the protests over Amini’s death, many women in urban areas began wearing their hair uncovered in a show of defiance on a level never seen before. At the same time, the government has been “extraordinarily repressive over the past year, suppressing protests and trying to push people off the streets”, Vakil told Chatham House.
The authorities used “very aggressive means, ranging from surveillance to arrest, torture and execution,” she said, creating “tight” tension between the authoritarian regime. and dissenting public opinion.
In recent months, authorities have taken steps to quell this visible display of dissent, restoring morality policing to the streets and seeking to reimpose mandatory hijab laws.
Iran’s parliament last month passed a law that would impose sentences of up to 10 years in prison for women who disobey rules on wearing headscarves. The bill must be ratified by the Guardian Council, an unelected conservative legislative body.
It was in this context that Geravand’s hospitalization emerged, once again fueling furious accusations against the state.
Discontent over the headscarf rules is a reflection of broader dissatisfaction with the government on a range of issues that span politics, economics, society and culture, Vakil said.
“And when you put them together, in a country as big as Iran,” she said, “it creates a powder keg.”