August 28, 2019
The lawyer of an anti-compulsory hijab activist in Iran says his client has been sentenced to a total of 24 years in prison, with 15 years to be served.
Saba Kord Afshari, a young woman who was first arrested last year during anti-regime protests and was facing a conviction, was re-arrested in May for anti-hijab activities.
The defense attorney Hossein Taj announced in a tweet that Afshari received 15 years for her anti-hijab activism and another nine years for “illegal assembly” and “propaganda against the regime”.
The 15-years designated for Afshari to serve equals the 15 years she received for her anti-compulsory hijab activities.
There are no written laws in the Islamic Republic about compulsory hijab, but in practice headscarves and an Islamic dress code is enforced by a web of different law-enforcement agencies. There are special dress-code agents policing the streets, who are tasked to stop women and admonish or arrest them for infringement of unwritten hijab rules.
Afshari’s case will now go to an appeals court. Few similar court decisions are overturned in Iran. The ruling establishment has become more insistent on enforcing hijab, as hundreds of women have been openly defying the rules in public. Many record embarrassing videos of the morality police and publish them on social media.
Three other women in August were sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison for challenging compulsory hijab.