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Iran: Anti-Veil Activist Must Serve Long Prison Sentence

Women shop in the old main bazaar of Tehran, Iran, Oct. 1, 2022. All women in Iran must wear a veil while in public.
Women shop in the old main bazaar of Tehran, Iran, Oct. 1, 2022. All women in Iran must wear a veil while in public.

Iranian justice summoned an activist against the compulsory wearing of the Muslim veil to serve a sentence of almost 4 years in prison, before suspending the execution of the verdict until March 10, local media reported Saturday.

Sepideh Rashno, 29, was detained for more than a month in July 2022 after being involved in an argument with another woman who accused her of removing her veil on a bus.

Judicial authorities announced to Sepideh Rashno that she would have to report to prison in the coming days to serve a sentence of three years and 11 months in prison, according to the reformist daily Sazandegi.

On Saturday afternoon, the Ham Mihan newspaper announced on its website that the execution of the verdict against the activist had been suspended until March 10, without providing further details.

Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, wearing the veil has been compulsory in Iran for all women who must hide their hair in public places.

The activist's lawyer announced in December that the court of appeal had confirmed the verdict of his client sentenced to prison "for the incident on the bus" and for "publication of indecent images" on the Internet.

After the incident, Sepideh Rashno posted photos of herself without a veil on Instagram, as well as texts against the strict dress code imposed on women.

In recent months, more and more women have appeared without veils in public places, particularly after the protest movement triggered by the death in detention in September 2022 of Mahsa Amini, arrested for violating the strict dress code.

Her death led to protests of Iranian political and religious leaders, with the young woman becoming the symbol of the fight against the obligation to wear the veil.

Several hundred people, including members of the police, were killed and thousands arrested during the demonstrations that took place in October and November before ebbing. Nine men were executed for their involvement in this movement which the authorities described as "riots" instigated by Western countries.