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Iranian woman ‘sentenced to 20 years in prison’ for removing her headscarf in protest

An Iranian woman identified as Shaparak Shajarizadeh, has alleged that she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for removing her compulsory Islamic headscarf out of protest.

Though there was no comment from Iranian officials, Shaparak  alleged that she was jailed for “opposing the compulsory hijab” and “waving a white flag of peace in the street” in a post on her personal website.The whereabouts of the 42-year-old Iranian woman who was released on bail in late April was unknown. Ms Shajarizadeh was subjected to torture and beatings after her arrest, her lawyer said, according to Amnesty International.

It was further alleged that after the Police arrested 29 people in February for removing their headscarves as part of a campaign known as “White Wednesdays”, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent human rights lawyer who represented Shajarizadeh and other women, was also arrested last month.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, Shajarizadeh’s lawyer, spoke with the Center for Human Rights in Iran and she said;



“I don’t know if she removed her hijab or not but my question is: How come women get immediately arrested for not observing the hijab or having an inappropriate hijab, or wearing tight or short dresses, or wearing lipstick, but in cases dealing with theft and murder, suspects never get arrested so fast?” Sotoudeh said.


“Why should women be arrested like this every day?” she wondered. “This is a manifestation of violence against women.”

Women showing their hair in public in Iran, can attract penalties ranging from a $25 fine to prison time. Women in Iran have been mandated to wear a hijab while in public since 1979, but in recent years a growing movement has sought to fight back against the compulsory head scarf.

One of the leading opponents of the compulsory hijab protest effort is Iranian exile Masih Alinejad, the founder of My Stealthy Freedom. She launched a movement known as #WhiteWednesdays, in which men and women post photos on social media wearing or carrying white headscarves in protest of the mandatory hijab rule. Shajarizadeh was an active #WhiteWednesdays participant.

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