(Listen to the interview by pressing the PLAY button above)
On the 16th of September Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died in Iran after being detained by morality police because of allegedly wearing a hijab too loosely. Witnesses said she was severely beaten and died as a result of police brutality but Iranian authorities denied it. The death of Mahsa Amini sparked the protests in Iran counting its seventh week now.
Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) states that around 300 people had been killed during the protests, including 46 children. However, the exact numbers vary in different reports. Over 14 thousand protesters have been arrested already.
According to the Iranian government, at least 36 members of the security forces were also killed. Tehran's chief prosecutor announced that over a thousand protesters have been charged as of this day. Lately, the crackdown on protesters is becoming even more violent.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has blamed the United States and Saudi Arabia for orchestrating the unrest. Meanwhile, Iranian people chanting "Woman, Life, Freedom" and "Death to the dictator", are demanding regime change, freedom, and equality.
In this episode, two Iranian women – Masi Abolhassan and Shaghayegh Norouzi – tell why they had to flee their homeland and how, both living in exile now, they are still fighting for changes in Iran.
Masi Abolhassan is a journalist, photographer, and women’s rights activist from Tehran.
Two years ago she had to flee Iran and is living in Turkey now, where she works as a lead researcher in the Iran Prison Atlas organization. Previously NARA published her photostory You Only Leave Once about transgender women fleeing Iran and looking for a better life abroad.
Masi is still in touch with some of her friends and relatives in Iran even though the internet is being blocked and the communication is very complicated: “I can't have a video call with them at all, and sometimes a simple greeting takes two days.” However, Masi believes the protests might actually lead to the end of the Islamic State of Iran.
Shaghayegh Norouzi is a human rights activist and a founder of Iran's #MeToo movement. It’s been two years since she moved to Spain where she continues publishing #MeToo stories of Iranian women and fights for more freedom and equality in her home country.
“The moment that you leave your country and feel that you cannot come back is a tragic moment. Maybe I will never see that house my grandfather had, that avenue, that door... This is tragic really, and a very hard feeling. But all of us have hope now again that maybe it will not take that long time to go back,” says Shaghayegh.
In the latest update from Iran, Amnesty International fears 10 more possible deaths, including children in the city of Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan province.
According to footage & accounts received from eyewitnesses from Khash, Sistan & Baluchestan province, since 2pm local time, security forces have been firing live ammunition at peaceful protesters from the rooftops of the Governor's office & several other buildings. #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/47c2p43qzn— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) November 4, 2022