One year ago, 21-year-old Mahsa Amini was brutally murdered at the hands of Iran’s so-called morality police. Her crime: violating the mandatory Islamic dress code.
Her death sparked protests not seen since the 1979 revolution, and the shockwaves are still being felt across the country.
Now, as Iranians prepare to honor her legacy, the Islamic regime is once again cracking down.
With the help of Chinese facial recognition technology, the Iranian regime has arrested more than 22,000 people and killed over 630 protestors for taking part in demonstrations following Mahsa Amini’s murder a year ago.
“One of the things we are already seeing in the lead up to the first anniversary of her murder is increased suppression,” Susie Gelman, commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), told CBN News.
A new report released by USCIRF states that Iranian authorities also continue to persecute religious minorities with imprisonment, torture, and forced disappearances.
“Christians report that they are getting pressure from the government not to participate in protests and if they do participate and they are arrested, they are sexually assaulted in prison,” Gelman said.
Iranian police brutally killed 21-year-old Amini last September for allegedly having a small bit of hair showing out of her hijab. The response triggered the longest nationwide protests since Iran’s Islamic uprising.
Mitra Jashni, an Iranian political activist, tells CBN News that Amini’s death continues to haunt the regime in Tehran.
“Many around the world viewed the tragic death of Mahsa Amini as a symbol of women’s resistance against the mandatory hijab,” Jashni said. For Iranians, Mahsa Amini served as a rallying call, motivating them to unite against the oppressive regime and seek its end.”
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi tells NBC News he has no regrets over how his government deals with those who continue to protest Amini’s murder.
“It’s not a surprise that he has no regrets,” said Dr. Saeed Ghasseminejad with the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Raisi is a psychopath and mass murderer. One of the stains on his record is that over a few weeks, he killed thousands of political prisoners and then ordered cream puffs to celebrate that.”
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Authorities are preparing for more protests ahead of the anniversary on the 16th.
“Every day we get news about people being arrested and that shows that the regime is really afraid, really scared, and is getting ready for a show of force with the people,” Ghasseminejad told CBN News.
Meanwhile, a new “Hijab and Chastity Bill” making its way through Iran’s Parliament calls for increased fines and jail time of 5 to 10 years for women caught violating so-called modesty laws.
Jashni says the protest this past year shows Iranian women aren’t backing down.
“We want this regime changed. We want to take back our country, so we are never afraid of these new rules. This is not new for us because it started 40 years ago,” Jashni said.
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