Woman Injured During Compulsory Hijab Protest Denied Post-Surgery Care by Prison Officials
A woman who was severely injured by a policeman in Tehran while she was peacefully protesting against Iran’s compulsory hijab law has been denied post-surgery medical care and access to a lawyer.
Baniyaghoob said that Shariatmadari had undergone knee surgery because of the fall but that the authorities had initially delayed the procedure. Shariatmadari has not received medical care since the surgery, according to Baniyaghoob.
“They have placed her on the top of a bunk bed even though it is very difficult for her to move because of her leg situation,” added Baniyaghoob. “She has five stitches on her leg.”
Baniyaghoob, a civil rights activist and recipient of the Courage in Journalism Award, also said via her Twitter account that Shahriatmadari wants to sue the policeman who caused her injury but so far she has not been allowed to do so.
“It seems the authorities first want the signs of injury to heal,” the reporter added.
A 32-year-old computer science major at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Shariatmadari was pushed off a utility box on Enghelab (Revolution) St. in Tehran by a policeman on February 23, 2018.
She was protesting Iran’s compulsory hijab law by taking her own hijab off in public and waving it while standing on the utility platform.
“Maryam was taken to Vali Asr Hospital that same night,” tweeted Baniyaghoob. “She was accompanied by five agents in the operating room. Suddenly the agents were ordered to shut down a mixed [gender] party. There were no other agents. Maryam was ready to undergo an operation but the agents returned her to the detention center until after the party was dealt with two-three hours later.”
The journalist added: “Maryam Shahriatmadari is in the public ward in Gharchak Prison in Varamin [city]. Her physical condition is not good. She has a severe leg injury and needed an operation the very first day. She needed antibiotics but the prison did not provide any during the first 24 hours. She has still not been given permission to access a lawyer.”
Asked about the incident, Tehran Police Spokesman Saeed Montazer al-Mahdi made one comment on February 24, “This matter is being investigated.”
Interior Ministry Spokesman Salman Samani told reporters on February 25 that while police have a duty to confront “visible crimes,” they do not have permission to violate the law “even when confronting visible crimes.”
The reformist Shargh newspaper reported on February 26 that Shariatmadari’s mother, Mitra Jamshidzadeh, was also detained for 25 hours when she went to the Vozara Police Station to demand her daughter’s release.
“I think about the commanding officer and the policeman who pushed the girl and what they said to their wives and children,” tweeted Iranian political commentator Masoud Behnoud, who lives in exile in London, on February 23.
Political analyst Abdollah Ramezanzadeh tweeted on February 22, “Which authority, based on what law, gave police permission to throw women around?”
Police in Tehran also arrested Shaparak Shajarizadeh on February 22 for removing her scarf in public in protest against the forced hijab. She was also transferred to Gharchak Prison at an unknown date.
At least 29 people had been arrested as of February 4. The detainees’ names have not been made public and it remains unclear how many remain in custody.
The protesting women have been mimicking the action of Vida Movahed, the first woman to be arrested after she waved her scarf on top of the same utility box on Tehran’s Enghelab St. in late December 2017. The act of removing your headscarf in public and waving it like a flag has become a symbol for the “Girls of Revolution Street” movement, which advocates choice over compulsion for women’s clothing.