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Girls & Women

An Iranian Woman Who Removed Her Hijab Was Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison

On Wednesday, an Iranian woman was sentenced to two years in prison for her fleeting act of defiance, the Guardian reported.

The woman had removed her headscarf, appearing uncovered in public, on Enghelab Street in the capital city of Tehran.

Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, Tehran’s chief prosecutor, told Mizan Online News Agency that the woman had tried to encourage moral “corruption through the removal of the hijab in public,” according to the Guardian.

Take Action: Sexist Laws Have No Place in 2018. Agree? Tell Governments to Act

But the woman, who has not been identified, is just one of dozens who have publicly taken off their headscarves in protest recently.

Since 1979, women in Iran have been required to wear hijabs and keep their hair covered when in public. But many women have started pushing back, not against the practice of wearing hijabs or those who choose to, but against the law, which disregards women’s personal choices about their faith, and forces them to wear headscarves.

In the last four months, more than 30 Iranian women have been arrested for casting of their headscarves, according to the Guardian, although Tehran’s police chief announced in December that women who flouted the country’s legal dress code would only be fined.

Read more: Powerful Photos Capture Iranian Women Casting Off Their Hijabs in Protest

According to the BBC, 21 months of the woman’s two-year sentence have been suspended, meaning she will eligible for parole in three months. However, the punishment is an unusually severe one. The maximum sentence for displaying one’s hair in public is typically two months with a $25 fine, the Guardian reported.

In February, the Iranian police force seemed to reverse its December announcement, in a statement that said women who joined in the anti-hijab protests could be charged with “inciting corruption and prostitution” and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, Amnesty International reported.

A poll in 2015 showed that nearly half of Iranian men and women believe that the government should not require women to wear headscarves and that doing so should be a personal choice. Yet the law remains firmly in place.

Read more: Anti-Hijab Activist Who Became an Icon Might Be Missing in Iran

Of the many women who have been arrested for removing their headscarves in recent months, most have been released without being charged, the BBC reported.

Global Citizen campaigns for freedom, for justice, for all. You can take action here to support women’s rights by calling on world leaders to #LeveltheLaw and amend gender discriminatory policies.