Iran: Iconic anti-headscarf protester sentenced to 1 year in prison

Vida Movahed, the iconic Iranian woman who removed her compulsory Muslim headscarf in a public protest last year, has been sentenced to one year in prison but pardoned by the supreme leader, her lawyer said Sunday.

Her lawyer told Associated Press that a court sentenced Vida Movahed in March after finding her guilty of encouraging public “corruption”.

He says Movahed is on a pardon list but the release procedures are still underway.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei occasionally issues pardons, usually tied to public holidays.

Vida Movahed, 32, was arrested in November 2018. She was dubbed the “Girl of Enghelab Street” and briefly arrested in 2017 after she took off her headscarf and held it in the air.

Iran ‘Girl of Enghelab Street’ is jailed for 2 years for removing compulsory hijab in public (2).jpg

Video clips of the protest were widely shared on social media, and authorities briefly detained 29 women on similar charges the following year.

Three have reportedly been sentenced to two years in prison and some others are believed to have left the country.

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

Iranian court proceedings are usually closed to the public and verdicts are often not publicized.

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.