Iranian woman who removed headscarf as public protest sentenced to 1 year in prison

Published April 14, 2019
Viva Movahed, 32, was dubbed the "Girl of Enghelab Street" and briefly arrested in 2017 after she took off her headscarf and held it in the air. ─ AP/File
Viva Movahed, 32, was dubbed the "Girl of Enghelab Street" and briefly arrested in 2017 after she took off her headscarf and held it in the air. ─ AP/File

An Iranian woman who removed her obligatory Islamic headscarf in a public protest has been sentenced to one year in prison but pardoned by the supreme leader, her lawyer said Sunday.

Payam Derefshan told The Associated Press that a court sentenced Vida Movahed in March after finding her guilty of encouraging public "corruption."

Movahed was arrested in November. Derefshan, who first revealed the verdict to local media on Sunday, said she is on a pardon list but the release procedures are still underway. There was no official comment. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei occasionally issues pardons, usually tied to public holidays.

Movahed, 32, was dubbed the "Girl of Enghelab Street" and briefly arrested in 2017 after she took off her headscarf and held it in the air.

Video clips of the protest were widely shared on social media, and authorities briefly detained 29 women on similar charges the following year.

Three have reportedly been sentenced to two years in prison and some others are believed to have left the country.

Iranian court proceedings are usually closed to the public and verdicts are often not publicised.

Iranian law requires women to dress conservatively and cover their hair in public. Those who violate the rules are usually sentenced to two months in prison or less and fined around $25.

Authorities have adopted a tougher approach toward the protests, which they say are part of a campaign orchestrated from abroad by opposition groups and social media networks.

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