A court in Iran sentenced a woman to two years in prison for removing her headscarf in public, the judiciary announced on Wednesday. She did so while taking part in protests against the country’s compulsory requirement for women to cover their hair in public.
The semiofficial Tasnim news agency on March 7 quoted prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying that the woman was attempting to “encourage corruption through the removal of the hijab in public.”
Iranian judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency did not identify the woman, but said she had indicated she would appeal the verdict.
Some reports said the woman was Nargess Husseini, 32, who had been arrested during a recent wave of peaceful protests against compulsory veiling in Iran.
In the past, women arrested for appearing in public without what is considered proper covering have been quickly released or sentenced to short jail terms and fined about $25.
Earlier this year, Iranian authorities announced they had detained 29 women who removed their head scarves as part of a campaign against the country’s mandatory Islamic dress code.
Police claimed the women had been “tricked” into removing their veil by a propaganda campaign being conducted by Iranians living abroad.
The U.S. State Department has condemned the arrests, saying the women were “exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms by standing up against the compulsory hijab.”
Amnesty International reiterated its calls on the authorities to “end the persecution of women who speak out against compulsory veiling, and abolish this discriminatory and humiliating practice.”
Women’s dress has been heavily scrutinized in the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution, when adherence to an Islamic dress code became compulsory.
The dress code dictates that women’s hair and body must be covered in public.
Morality police launch regular crackdowns on those who are not fully respecting rules relating to the hijab.
More than 30 Iranian women have been arrested since the end of December for publicly removing their veils in defiance of the law.