Women, Life, Freedom
The death in custody of Mahsa Amini on 16 September 2022 following her arrest by the morality police for not covering her hair ‘properly’ was a shocking reminder of repression facing women and girls in Iran. Two female journalists who, bravely, covered this horrific incident have been jailed since and detained in solitary confinement.
This event ignited outrage across Iran. With women and students at the forefront, the people of Iran took to the streets protesting and fighting for “Women, Life, Freedom”. Many women tore off their hijabs and cut their hair in a symbolic act. The Iranian people’s message has been clear. They will no longer tolerate oppression and violence.
The severity of Iran’s brutal state-sponsored use of force against protesters and other civilians has appalled the world. Since the beginning of this uprising, thousands of protesters have been arrested; amongst them activists, journalists, artists, musicians, sports people, directors, and actors. Many of them have been jailed, put into solitary confinement, tortured, sexually assaulted and in some cases raped. Some face accusations of serious crimes which can carry a death penalty. There have been condemnations and executions. In some cases, young protesters have died by suicide after being released from the prison.
Schools have been raided and school children have been taken to ‘psychological centres for correction’ according to Iran’s Education Minister. Most recently, there has been a series of attacks on girls’ schools across Iran, poisoning the students by the use of toxic gases, leading to the hospitalisation of many students.
We, as a centre of mental health care and education, can only imagine the strain and trauma for this people under siege. We have also seen the inevitable impact of these events on many of our students and staff with ties to Iran in particular. We would like to express our solidarity with students, women and everyone protesting in Iran for their rights and their freedom.