A 16-year-old girl is in intensive care after she hurled herself from a moving car following a beating from security police in Iran, it has emerged.
Hasti Hossein Panahi had been subjected to a vicious beating for tearing a portrait of Iran’s supreme leader out of her schoolbook.
Hasti – from a village near Dehgolan, Kurdistan Province, western Iran – had got into trouble with local officials after she allegedly tore a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini out of her schoolbook.
She was summoned for a meeting with officials from the local education department on 9th November.
During the meeting, she was reportedly reprimanded and ordered to cooperate with security forces on threat of being expelled from school.
Her mother is reported to have said that she was also beaten with batons.
An anonymous source told human rights activists that Hasti was so traumatised upon leaving the meeting that she attempted to end her own life by throwing herself out of a moving car.
The same source said that she was then taken to the intensive care unit of Kausar Hospital in nearby Sanandaj by air ambulance.
She was reported to have a decreased level of consciousness and to be at risk of death.
The Chief Justice of Kurdistan reported on 13th November that Hasti had tried to end her life by throwing herself from the moving vehicle but did not explain what had led her to carry out the attempt.
A source close to the teenager’s family said that security forces have been pressuring her father – who is a schoolteacher – into keeping quiet about the incident.
Hasti and her family are ethnic Kurds. Kurdish people are Iran’s third-largest ethnic group, after Persians and Azeris.
Iranian minorities are believed by many human rights groups to disproportionately suffer from state repression.
Mahsa Amini – whose death at the hands of morality police in September sparked the current wave of protests in Iran – was also Kurdish.
Ayatollah Khomeini (1900-1989) led the 1979 Iranian Revolution, founded the Islamic Republic of Iran, and served as its first supreme leader.
He is legally considered ‘inviolable’ in Iran, with Iranians regularly punished for insulting him.
The ongoing protests in Iran have so far claimed at least 326 lives, including 43 children, and injured at least 1,160, according to independent estimates.