Iranian police called the death of Mahsa Amini an “unfortunate incident” and denied that she was harmed physically in custody, semi-official news agency Fars News said on Monday.
Amini, 22, who was arrested and detained by Iran’s morality police in Tehran on Tuesday, died after falling into a coma on Friday.
CCTV footage released by Iran’s state media appeared to show her collapsing at a “re-education” center where she had been taken by the morality police to receive “guidance” on her attire.
“The incident was unfortunate for us and we wish to never witness such incidents,” Greater Tehran Police Commander Hossein Rahimi said during a press briefing on Monday.
Rahimi said “false accusations” had been made against the Iranian police and that Amini was not harmed physically during and after she was taken into custody.
He added the police had “done everything” to keep her alive.
Iranian officials have said that Amini died after suffering a “heart attack” following her arrest on Tuesday, but her family say she did not have a pre-existing heart condition, according to Emtedad news, an Iranian pro-reform media outlet who allegedly spoke to Amini’s father.
Students took to the streets on Monday in Tehran, demanding justice and accountability for the death of Amini as protesters clashed with police in Iranian cities in the northwestern Kurdistan province over the weekend, semi-official news agencies said.
One video circulating on social media showed women in Tehran taking off their hijab and waving it while chanting “death to the dictator” on Monday. Another video showed a motorcycle burning on a street area near where the judicial building is located in the capital.
Fars, a government aligned news agency, published a video showing protestors demonstrating in the capital of Kurdistan province, Sanandaj, late on Sunday and chanting slogans against officials.
According to Fars, protestors were “not convinced” by the police’s justification of Amini’s death, saying she died “under torture.”
Security forces fired tear gas on protesters following Amini’s funeral ceremony in her hometown of Saqqez on Saturday, Fars said, while demonstrators demanding answers allegedly threw rocks at the governor’s office, semi-official Mehr news said.
At least 38 people were injured during protests in both cities, according to a report released on Sunday by Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, a Norwegian-registered organization monitoring rights violations in Iran.
US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley took to Twitter on Friday calling on Iran to “end its improper violence against women for exercising their fundamental rights.”
“Those responsible for her death should be held accountable,” he added.
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said he “categorically rejects any interventionist statements from American authorities involving Iran’s internal affairs.”
“If the American government is concerned about the Iranian nation, it should lift its decades-long cruel, unilateral and illegal blockade against the Iranian nation,” he added.