04/15/2019, 14.45
IRAN
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Activist who protested against compulsory veil gets one year in prison

Vida Movahedi was arrested last October for showing her head uncovered in Tehran’s Enghelab Square. She was convicted of "fomenting corruption and debauchery" on 2 March, but her sentence was made public only recently. She describes her fight as “civic revolt”.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An Iranian court sentenced a woman to a year's imprisonment after she was convicted of objecting to covering her hair, a controversial issue that has sparked street protests in recent months repressed by force and arrests.

Vida Movahedi was taken into custody last October for showing her head uncovered (pictured) in Enghelab (Revolution) Square, waving her veil and some red balloons, her lawyer Payam Dérafchane told media.

The activist was sentenced for "fomenting corruption and debauchery", he explained in a trial that saw her convicted on 2 March. State news agency IRNA announced the decision only a few days ago.

Movahedi, the mother of a two-year-old girl, had already participated in public protests in late December 2017 in central Tehran, becoming the face and symbol of the struggle against the compulsory veil. Like scores of other women, she was arrested.

At her trial she told the judge that she was "against the compulsory Islamic veil" and that she wanted to express her opinion through a "civic revolt".

According to some sources, she could be released on bail but, so far, the authorities have refused to do so.

For women, covering their heads became compulsory in Iran following the rise to power of the ayatollahs following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The fight against the obligation is nothing new. However, since the beginning of last year the movement has expanded and acquired greater vigour and visibility.

Through videos and messages posted online, activists encourage women to remove their head coverings and post their pictures on social media.

Reacting to the protests, the deputy speaker of the Iranian Parliament suggested in January that a referendum might be held on the issue, but so far, nothing has officially happened.

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