Iran: ‘Girl of Enghelab Street’ is jailed for 2 years for removing compulsory hijab in public

A prosecutor in the Iranian capital Tehran has said that an unnamed woman who removed her obligatory Islamic headscarf in public has been sentenced to 24 months in prison, three months without parole.

Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency on Wednesday quoted prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying the woman took off her headscarf in Tehran’s Enghelab Street to ‘encourage corruption through the removal of the hijab in public’.

Dolatabadi, who announced the sentence, said the woman intended to appeal against the verdict, the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency reported.

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The woman ‘encouraged moral corruption’ in public, he said, criticising the light nature of the sentence and saying he would push for the full two-year penalty.

More than 30 Iranian women have been arrested since the end of December for publicly removing their veils in defiance of the law.

Most have been released, but many are being prosecuted.

Iranian law in place since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 stipulates that all women, Iranian or foreign, Muslim or non-Muslim, must be fully veiled in public at all times.

But the zeal of the country’s morality police has declined somewhat in the past two decades, and a growing number of Iranian women in Tehran and other large cities often wear loose veils that reveal their hair.

In some areas of the capital, women are regularly seen driving cars with veils draped over their shoulders.

Dolatabadi said he would no longer accept such behaviour, and had ordered the impound of vehicles driven by socially rebellious women.

The prosecutor said some ‘tolerance’ was possible when it came to women who wear the veil loosely, ‘but we must act with force against people who deliberately question the rules on the Islamic veil’, according to Mizan Online.

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The police say the campaign against the veil is backed by Farsi-language satellite TV networks based abroad and purportedly encouraged women participants to take their white headscarves off on Wednesdays.

Women showing their hair in public in Iran are usually sentenced to far shorter terms of two months or less, and fined $25.

Last month police warned that Iranian women protesting against the compulsory headscarf by taking off their hijab in public could be facing up to a decade in jail for ‘inciting prostitution’.