August 16, 2019
The U.S. State Department has condemned hefty prison terms for three Iranian anti-compulsory hijab female activists who have been detained in Iran.
In a tweet on August 14, the State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus wrote, “We condemn the Iranian regime for sentencing Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, and Mojgan Keshavarz to 55 years in prison for protesting compulsory hijab laws while simply handing out roses.”
Ortagus asked all nations to condemn the court decision in Iran. The tweet also carried the hashtag #whitewednesdays, which was launched last year by Iranian activists abroad, encouraging Iranian women to defy compulsory hijab.
There are no written laws in Iran forcing women to wear hijab, but since the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic leaders, functionaries, courts and ruling religious establishment have set their own standards in dress code and have often vigorously enforced it.
The three women were charged with “assembly and collusion to act against national security,” “propaganda against the regime,” as well as “encouraging and preparing the grounds for corruption and prostitution.”
The lawyer defending Mojgan Keshavarz told Radio Farda in early August that his client had merely protested compulsory hijab and had nothing to do with other charges claimed by the prosecutor. He added that she will appeal the verdict.