Mahsa Amini protests: Angelina Jolie calls for ‘freedom’ for Iranian women

Angelina Jolie has spoken out in support of Iranian women’s right to “live and breathe without violence or threats” amid ongoing protests in the country over the death of Mahsa Amini.

The 22-year-old woman’s death while in police custody sparked mass protests across Iran and has resulted in deadly clashes between demonstrators and police.

In an Instagram post, Jolie, 47, posted several photographs of women protesting on the streets and cutting their hair.

The final slide in her post featured text that read: “Protests in Iran are in their 12th consecutive night. They started in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in morality police custody.

“Since the protests began, riot police have attacked protestors with brutal force, and more than 70 people have reportedly been killed.”

In her caption, the Eternals star wrote: “Respect to the brave, defiant, fearless women of Iran.

“All those who have survived and resisted for decades, those taking to the streets today, and Mahsa Amini and all young Iranians like her.”

She continued: “Women don’t need their morals policed, their minds re-educated, or their bodies controlled. They need freedom to live and breathe without violence or threats.

“To the women of Iran, we see you.”

Rights group Iran Human Rights has said on Wednesday (28 September) that the death toll could be as high as 76, far higher than the figure given by authorities.

At least six women and four children are among those who have died in violent clashes between demonstrators and police, the group added.

The Islamic Republic has put the official death toll at just 41, including protestors and police, since the unrest began on 17 September.

Amini was arrested by the religious police in Tehran for not wearing her hijab properly and died in custody just a few days later.

Her death sparked widespread condemnation from Iranians and the international community, with thousands of women calling for the end of the clerical administration.

Under the Islamic Republic’s rule, all women in the country must wear a hijab. Since the rule began in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution occurred, so-called morality police have been known for enforcing it zealously.

Last week, Iranian-American actor Sam Asghari, who is married to Britney Spears, posted a strongly-worded video in which he called the Iranian government “terrorists” and called for his followers to share information about the protests.