DUBAI: An Iranian rights activist has been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for protesting the country’s mandatory hijab rules, her lawyer said.
Activist Melika Qaragozlu was arrested for appearing on a social media video without wearing the mandatory Islamic headscarf, according to Radio Farda.
Qaragozlu’s sentence was handed down as Iran was hit by widespread protests after the death of a 22-year-old woman while in police custody for breaking hijab rules.
Her lawyer, Mohammad Kamfiruzi, wrote on Twitter that the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran recently handed down the sentence to his client “for publishing a few seconds of video herself without a headscarf on social media.”
In the video, Qaragozlu protested the compulsory Islamic headscarf in Iran as part of a nationwide anti-hijab campaign, where she was a participant, that started in July.
The hijab – the head covering worn by Muslim women – became compulsory in public for Iranian women and girls over the age of nine after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi ordered authorities to enforce the hijab law more strictly in July. This reportedly resulted in a new list of restrictions on how women shall be dressed in public.
Radio Farda reported that following the presidential order, “women judged not to be in compliance have been barred from government offices, banks and public transportation.”
Several activists have launched a social media campaign under the hashtag #no2hijab, calling on people to boycott companies enforcing tougher restrictions on women outfits.
On July 12, women’s rights activists posted videos of themselves publicly removing their veils to coincide with the government’s National Day of Hijab and Chastity.