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Iranian Woman Sentenced to Two Years for Removing Her Hijab in Public

An Iranian woman has been sentenced to two years in prison after publicly removing her headscarf in protest of the mandatory hijab law. The prosecutor for the case, Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi, found the woman guilty of “encouraging moral corruption.” 

While she was originally sentenced for two years, 21 months of the woman’s sentence have been suspended and she is in need of medical treatment by a psychiatrist. In the meantime, the woman is required to serve three months in prison without parole.

Jafari-Dolatabadi argued against the suspension, saying that the woman should be required to be incarcerated for the full term of her penalty.

The so-called “crime” occurred in December. The woman, who is still unnamed, removed her hijab and held it up on a stick in Tehran, Iran’s capital. Photographs of the woman standing atop a telecoms box on a busy street have since gone viral on social media.


“براي دختر روي سكوي خيابان انقلاب. كاري كه او كرد اعلام نارضايتي اش بود به شيوه اي مدني و مسالمت آميز. درست شبيه به كاري كه اين روزها مردم سراسر ايران دارند انجام مي دهند. بيانِ نارضايتي و اعتراض شان به وضعيت موجود. امتداد صداي هم باشيم حتي اگر بگويند هيسسسس الان وقتش نيست. زنان اين روزها شانه به شانه ي مردان ايستاده اند و شجاعانه عليه ظلم فرياد مي زنند. هيچ وقت فريب كساني را نخوريم كه ميان زنان و مردان جدايي مي اندازند و هيس هيس مي كنند. نبايد اين زن را تنها بگذاريم و نسبت به وضعيتش بي تفاوت باشيم. هميشه وقتش است كه از هم حمايت كنيم و در همه ي شرايط حتي وسط تجمع ها و تظاهرات هم حجاب اجباري را كه نمادِ سركوب و تحقير انسان است دور بياندازيم.” #چهارشنبه_های_سفید #چهارشنبه_های_بدون_اجبار #whitewednesdays #نه_به_حجاب_اجباری

A post shared by Masih Alinejad (@masih.alinejad) on


The image was originally shared in connection to White Wednesday, a campaign in which Iranian women wear white every Wednesday to protest the country’s strict dress codes. Young people throughout the country have been regularly protesting the Iranian government for years now. The recent reelection of president Hassan Rouhani prompted a surge in protests and subsequent arrests.

The mass circulation of the image has resulted in the woman becoming a figurehead for the recent protests. BBC referred to her as “The Rosa Parks of Iran.”

As a result of these protests, the government has stated that women who do not wear their hijabs in public will no longer be detained but instead will be forced to attend Islamic etiquette classes.  

Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, traditional Islamic laws regarding female modesty have required women to cover their hair. The women of Iran have had enough of being told what to do and are standing up for their personal freedoms.

Featured Image by Kamyar Adl on Flickr

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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