Iran toughens punishment for violating headscarf dress code with up to ten years in prison

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Iran hardened this Wednesday the punishment for not wearing the Islamic veil correctly in public space with up to ten years in prison. The approval of the amendment coincides with the first anniversary of the protests over the death of Mahsa Name Believe, the young woman who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing the veil correctly. The so-called “Bill to support the family by promoting the culture of chastity and hijab” was approved with 152 votes in favor, 34 against and seven abstentions. The regulations require final approval from Iran’s Guardian Council, which is expected to review and approve in the coming days.

Until now, the law contemplated penalties of between ten days and two months in prison for violating the dress code. The new legislation toughens the penalty five to ten years in prisonwhile the fines They also rise considerably, from ten euros to 7.000. The increase in fines is considerable, taking into account that the minimum wage in Iran barely exceeds 200 euros per month. Penalties for violating the dress code also include punishments of up to 60 lashes for breaking the law. The law will apply for three years and after this period, it will be reviewed again.

The code contains seventy articles that restrict the dress code and behavior of women in different social situations. Rights groups have interpreted it as an attempt to stop anti-government protests that have occurred since Amini’s death in police custody. For example, the law provides fines for those who “promote nudity” or “make fun of the hijab” in media and social networks, in a clear allusion to the protest act of thousands of women who have taken off or burned their veils in public spaces to demand more freedoms. It also punishes those groups of people who violate the dress code “in an organized manner” or “in cooperation with the government, media or foreign organizations“.

The measure has been approved in the young Amini’s birthday and a few days after anniversary of his death. The images of Amini admitted to the hospital, with clear signs of having been beaten in police custody, sparked a unprecedented anger in all cities of the country. Thousands of women took to the streets shouting “Woman, life and freedom” to ask for more rights, in massive events that led to massive demonstrations against the regime, demanding more freedoms and economic improvements.

Although initially the authorities they removed the moral police of the streets, the body that controls women’s dress code among other duties, the gesture was brief and the situation has considerably worsened. The government has not given in one bit to the demands on the street and has accused the protesters of being influenced by foreign powers who seek to undermine Tehran’s authority. At least 500 people have died in police actions during the protests, while seven people have been executed. About twenty have been sentenced to death for his alleged participation in anti-government protests. Furthermore, more than 20,000 people have been arrested for allegedly being involved in the demonstrations, including twenty journalists. Two reporters, who revealed Amini’s case in the media, are imprisoned and their trial is closed to the public and even lawyers of those prosecuted, is still ongoing. At least three relatives of the accused have also been detained and interrogated in recent months. Rights groups have denounced humiliation, torture and even sexual assault in police custody. Dozens of women have also been detained in their homes for answering questions to the foreign press about the protests in the country.

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