ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Selahattin Demirtas, Kurdish politician who is imprisoned in Turkey, said Friday that he and his cellmate have shaved their heads to protest the recent death of the Kurdish woman, Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, in Iranian custody.
“Resisting against oppression and persecution is not only the responsibility of women. To support the struggle for equality and freedom, where women bravely lead, and to state that we stand with the people who are resisting for freedom in Iran, my cellmate, Dr Selcuk Mizrakli, and I shaved our heads today,” Demirtas said in a statement shared by his wife, Basak Demirtas, on Twitter.
Mizrakli was the mayor of the Kurdish city of Amed (Diyarbakir) until he was arrested by Turkish authorities for terror charges in August 2019.
Photographs shared on social media on Friday showed Demirtas attending his ongoing trial from prison via videoconference with a bald head. The politician served as the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), before his arrest in November 2016 for terror-related charges.
Amini, 22, was arrested by Iran’s so-called morality police last week, for allegedly wearing the hijab in an improper manner. She was taken to the hospital hours later after collapsing in a prison cell in Tehran. She died on Friday, with authorities claiming that the cause of death was a heart attack, while human rights activists and witnesses say she was beaten in the police van.
Amini’s death sparked outrage across the cities of Iran with thousands of civilians and activists taking to the streets to protest the ambiguous circumstances surrounding the young woman’s death. The incident also drew reactions from the international community, strongly condemning her death.