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At least 29 Iranian women arrested for appearing without a headscarf in public Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

At least 29 Iranian women arrested for appearing without a headscarf in public

Social media postings showed at least 11 individual women staging the rare protests [Twitter/ArminNavabi]

Date of publication: 2 February, 2018

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Iranian women have been accused of public order offences as pictures shared online show women taking off their headscarves in protest at the obligatory head-covering law.
At least 29 women have been arrested in Iran for appearing in public without a headscarf as protests against the enforced dress code intensify, Iranian media reported Friday.

The women have been accused of public order offences and referred to the state persecutor's office.

Since Monday, Iranian women took off their headscarves and waved them on sticks, in protest at laws that make it obligatory for women to wear the Muslim hijab.

When asked about a woman detained earlier this week due to the law, Chief Prosecutor Mohammed Jafar Montazeri played down the escalating protests on Wednesday, describing them as "trivial" and "childish" moves incited by foreigners.

A prominent human rights lawyer told AFP on Tuesday that one of the women detained had her bail set at more than $100,000.

Montazeri added that those flouting the laws which require headscarves and modest clothing must have been encouraged by outsiders.

The protests appear to imitate the actions of a 31-year-old protester identified as Vida Movahed, who took off her hijab on the same street in Tehran in December.

Movahed was freed from jail on Monday after nearly a month in detention, her lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh said.

Sotoudeh said last week that Movahed's protest appeared to show someone "at the end of their tether because of all the controls placed on her body over the 31 years of her life".

The Islamic dress code - in place since the 1979 revolution - considers Islamic veiling or hijab, obligatory for any female aged above 13.

It also states that women should cover themselves from head to toe while disavowing any figure-hugging dress.

Women showing their hair in public can be jailed for up to two months or fined $25, but in late December Iranian police said they would no longer arrest women for failing to observe the code in a bid to appease youth and reformers. 

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