Photo shared on social media of Narges Hosseini protesting the mandatory hijab. Photo: CHRI
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Though facing potentially lengthy prison terms, women arrested for removing their headscarf have refused to express penitence for what is an illegal act in Iran.
“Ms. Hosseini did not even appear in court to express remorse for her action. She said she objects to the forced hijab and considers it her legal right to express her protest,” Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer for Narges Hosseini, 32, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
She is facing a possible 10 years in prison and up to 74 lashes on charges including openly committing a sinful act, violating public prudency, and encouraging immorality or prostitution, according to the rights group. She was arrested on January 29 and is unable to pay the $135,000 bail set by the court.
Hosseini is “not prepared to say she’s sorry,” her lawyer said.
She is one of at least 29 women arrested
for protesting the country’s mandatory head covering law. The women have removed their headscarves and held them aloft on Tehran’s Revolution Street. Their images have been widely shared on social media with the hashtag #GirlsOfRevolutionStreet
Men have also joined the protest, in solidarity.
They were inspired by Vida Movahed who was pictured holding her headscarf like a flag during widespread anti-government protests in late December.
According to a report released by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday, nearly half the country is opposed to the mandatory hijab.
According to the three-year old-report, 49.2 percent of respondents in a poll believe that the decision to wear the headscarf is a private matter.
In a televised news conference on Tuesday, addressing the recent anti-government protests that were largely rooted in economic concerns, Rouhani said people have the right to protest.
“Yes people have criticisms about the economic situation and yes they're right, but they are also criticising the social situation, foreign relations, and the political situation. The people have a lot to say and we should listen to them," he said.