The family of Mahsa Amini – the 22-year-old Kurdish woman whose death in police custody three weeks ago sparked protests across Iran – say they have received death threats and have been warned not to get involved in the demonstrations.
Mahsa became a symbol of Iranian repression after her arrest by the morality police, who accused her of wearing her hijab improperly. Her face, and her story, are now known around the world.
“Our family have been under immense pressure from the Islamic Republic’s officials, so we don’t talk to human rights organisations or channels outside of Iran and inform anyone from the outside world about her passing,” her cousin Erfan Mortezai tells me when we meet across the border in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.
Erfan is a Peshmerga fighter for Komala, an exiled Iranian Kurdish opposition party based in Iraq. For years, since long before Mahsa’s death, he has been trying to bring down the Islamic Republic. The Iranian government have blamed the latest unrest on…