On April 28, 2022, Reza Moradkhani, former boxing champion and member of boxing national team, goes to Pardisan Park for a stroll with his wife, Maria Arefi and their 10-month old daughter. A morality police car stops in front of Maria: “Miss, give me your national ID number?!” When shes asks the reason, “We want to see if you have any vice issues in the system!” Reza intervenes asking, “What has my wife done?!” One of the 2 policemen gets out of the car: “Don’t interfere. It’s none of your business!” An argument pursues whether defending his wife is his business or not! Eventually, all 6 “morality police officers” are out of the car, 2 men, 4 women. They separate Maria and Reza, with Maria holding their daughter.
One of the policemen in plain clothes tries to calm everybody down and end the arguments, but the other one in uniform continues by cursing at Maria and insulting Reza. When Reza objects, he uses his pepper spray and sprays Reza in the face, with splashes on Maria and their daughter. The people in the park gather around Reza when the same policeman fires gunshots in the air. As Reza turns towards the sound with closed eyes, he fires another shot, but this time to his back from about 7 feet! Reza Moradkhani ends up with 4 shots in his body, including 2 to his legs. The policeman continues by hitting Reza in the face by his feet!
As the commotion was ongoing, people were screaming, calling for ambulance,… but the policeman was chasing people to get their phones and deleting their photos and clips. In several instances, he factory-reset the phones with people losing all their data! Several went to the nearby police station and filed complaints. Reza ended up with a huge abdominal surgery with possibly 1 year of disability.
However, that was not the end of it. Reza Moradkhani and Maria Arefi told SharghDaily they did not intend to say anything about the incident because they had thought the Judiciary system would be fair to them, because they both have been members of the national boxing team with several medals in Asia and World Championships. The police and Judiciary officials went to the hospital and were very “sympathetic” and “promised to take care of it all!”
But, to their “surprise”, the police filed law suit against the couple for “Unveiling, resisting arrest, wrestling pepper spray from the police…” and other sham charges. Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces is “possibly” dismissing the charges and the case will be transferred to criminal courts! That is why they decided to talk to reporters. Maria explains she had a scarf on, “we both have been part of the national team and are familiar with the laws. I had hijab when were in Turkey, how could I have gone out in Tehran with none? I got into the ambulance, went to the hospital, with police, EMTs and medical staff. I spoke to the police in the hospital. How come nobody said anything?!”
For people familiar with the judicial system in Iran, there is no surprise. The system swallows you to defend itself, no matter who you are. To make matters clearer and more interesting, the Islamic Consultative Assembly is “reviewing a bill” in which “Armed Forces, including police” would have more freedom to use their firearm at any and all confrontations, even during “morality” patrol!