“They lie. They tell lies. Everything is a lie… no matter how much I begged, they wouldn’t let me see my daughter,” Amjad Amini told BBC Persia on Wednesday.
When he saw his daughter’s body ahead of her funeral, it was completely wrapped except for her feet and face – although he did notice bruises on her feet. “I have no idea what they did to her,” he said.
CNN could not independently verify his account with hospital officials.
CCTV footage released by Iranian state media showed Mahsa Amini collapsing in a “re-education” center where she was taken by vice squad to receive “counseling” on how to dress.
Protests and deadly clashes with police have erupted in cities and towns across Iran, despite authorities’ attempts to curb the spread of protests through internet blackouts.
Mobile networks were largely shut down and access to Instagram and Whatsapp was restricted, internet watchdog Netblocks said late Wednesday. A second “nationwide” loss of connectivity in Iran was reported by Netblocks on Thursday.
There was a near total disruption of internet access in parts of Iran’s Western Kurdistan Province from Monday evening, and regional power outages in other parts of the country, including Sanandaj and Tehran.
It comes after Iran’s communications minister warned there could be internet outages “for security reasons and discussions related to recent events”, according to the country’s semi-official ISNA news agency.
At the time, Iran was almost entirely offline, in what Oracle’s Internet Intelligence called Iran’s “biggest internet shutdown ever.”
This week, several Iranian state government websites – including the official websites of the President and the Iranian Central Bank – were also offline, with hacker collective Anonymous claiming responsibility.
“(Greetings) Citizens of Iran. This is a message from Anonymous to all of Iran. We are here and we are with you,” a social media account affiliated with the group tweeted on Tuesday.
“We support your determination for peace against brutality and massacres. We know that your determination does not stem from revenge, but from your desire for justice. All tyrants will fall before your courage. Long live free Iranian women.”
The hacker collective also took responsibility for temporarily shutting down Iran’s website the government-aligned Fars news agency early Wednesday morning, according to a tweet from Anonymous. The site has since come back online.
Growing fury over deadly clashes
At least eight people, including a teenager, were killed in the last few days due to clashes during the protests, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
At least four of those eight people “died from wounds sustained by security forces firing lead shots at point-blank range,” Amnesty said in a report released on Wednesday.
Four others were shot dead by security forces, Amnesty said, citing sources in Iran. He added that eyewitness accounts and video analysis show that “Iranian security forces illegally and repeatedly fire pellets directly at protesters.”
Riot police were mobilized to disperse protesters in the capital Tehran on Wednesday evening, and were seen arresting several people, according to eyewitnesses who did not want to be named for security reasons.
Riot police deployed tear gas, with a “brutal crackdown” near Tehran University, an eyewitness said.
Another eyewitness in the city’s eastern quarter said protesters shouted “Death to the dictator”, a reference to Iran’s supreme leader, and “I kill everyone who killed my sister”, in reference to Amini.
Videos of protests across the country show people tearing down posters of the Supreme Leader, and women burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in a symbolic show of defiance.
CNN has reached out to police and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), who joined riot police Wednesday night in Tehran, for comment.
The IRGC on Thursday issued a warning to protesters in a statement and called for justice to identify those responsible for spreading “rumors” on social media.
The IRGC accused the protesters of “rioting” and “vandalism” and called on the police to “protect the nation’s security”.
Meanwhile, the Fars news agency reported on Thursday that two members of the Iranian paramilitary organization Basij – a voluntary paramilitary group linked to the IRGC – were killed separately during protests in Iranian provinces.
“Rioters” stabbed a Basij member in Tabriz, the capital of eastern Azerbaijan province in northwestern Iran, Fars reported. State-run Al Alam said another Basij member was killed in Qazvin province.
A propaganda-style video titled “When the Basij enters”, posted by Fars on Thursday, reportedly showed Basij members on motorbikes clearing barricades and arresting men in the street. The video does not specify a location or date.
International activists and leaders have also expressed concern over protests and allegations of police violence.
Sweden’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Sweden stands with Iranians mourning Amini and demanded that the authorities respect their right to peaceful protest. Germany also called on the Iranian authorities to “allow peaceful protests and, above all, to no longer resort to violence” during a press conference on Wednesday.
UK Foreign Secretary Tariq Ahmad said the UK was “extremely concerned at reports of serious ill-treatment of Ms Amini, and many others, by security forces”.
“The use of violence in response to the expression of fundamental rights, by women or any other member of Iranian society, is completely unjustifiable,” its statement said.