Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has filmed herself cutting her hair in solidarity with protesters in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini.
The past 11 days have seen significant unrest in the Middle Eastern country after the death in custody of Amini, who had been arrested on 13 September for allegedly wearing a hijab headscarf in an improper way.
In line with protesters in Iran, Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian national who spent six years in jail in Iran, is seen cutting her hair with scissors in footage given to BBC Persian.
At the end of the video, she said: “For my mother, for my daughter, for the fear of solitary confinement, for the women of my country, for freedom.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016 in Tehran while working as a charity project manager. She was accused of spying by the country’s authorities which she denied.
After a long-running campaign led by her husband, Richard, and negotiation between the British and Iranian governments, Zaghari-Ratcliffe returned home to the UK in March.
Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police in Tehran. The 22-year-old collapsed after being taken to a detention centre and later died in hospital. Police said her death was caused by sudden heart failure but Amini’s family have alleged that she was beaten by officers.
On Monday, at least 450 people had been arrested in Mazandaran, a northern province of Iran, since the protests began, according to the province’s chief prosecutor Mohammad Karimi.
The demonstrations have been met with internet shutdowns and violent repression.
The official death toll in the unrest was 41 on Monday, while human rights groups said the true number is at least 76.
Amnesty International said at least four children had been killed by state forces since the beginning of the protests.
Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based organisation, has accused authorities of using disproportionate force and live ammunition to suppress the dissent.
Its director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, said: “The risk of torture and ill-treatment of protesters is serious and the use of live ammunition against protesters is an international crime.
“The world must defend the Iranian people’s demands for their fundamental rights.”
• This article was amended on 29 September 2022. An earlier version mistakenly stated that Mahsa Amini was arrested for refusing to wear a hijab.