Five people have been killed during violent protests in Iran over the death of a young woman while she was detained for allegedly violating strict hijab rules.
Mahsa Amini fell into a coma and died after being arrested in Tehran.
Police said the 22-year-old had a heart attack and was taken to hospital while waiting with others held by the morality police – who make sure women in the Islamic republic cover their hair and wear loose fitting clothing in public.
But Ms Amini, who is said to have had no health problems, suffered bruising to her legs while in custody according to her father. He has said he holds the police responsible for her death.
The death of the 22-year-old has ignited international anger with the hashtag MahsaAmini trending on Twitter and reaching almost two million mentions.
A third day of demonstrations on Monday saw security forces open fire on protesters in her home town, the city of Saqez, in Iran’s Kurdish region – claiming the lives of two people.
A further two died in the town of Divandarreh from “direct fire”, according to human rights group, Hengaw, with 15 injured and a fifth was killed in Dehgolan, also in the Kurdish region.
However, Iranian state television rejected the “claims of deaths on social media”.
The claims have not been officially confirmed or independently verified.
But now France has joined the US in demanding accountability for Ms Amini.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the arrest and violence that led to Ms Amini’s death, which it described as “profoundly shocking”, and called for a transparent investigation to discover the cause behind of death.
A White House spokesperson said: “Mahsa Amini’s death after injuries sustained while in police custody for wearing an “improper” hijab is an appalling and egregious front to human rights.”
Meanwhile Amnesty Iran, which works on behalf of human rights organisation Amnesty International, tweeted that the “circumstances leading to the suspicious death” of Ms Amini, including “allegations of torture and other ill-treatment”, must be subject to a criminal investigation.
Tehran Police commander, Hossein Rahimi, insisted Ms Amini had suffered no physical harm and police had “done everything” to keep her alive, describing her death as an “unfortunate incident”.