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Iranians sending photos without hijab to activist in US face prison

Women covered in black hijab. (PxHere/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iranians who send images of themselves without a hijab, or head scarf, to a U.S.-based activist could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, the Associated Press has reported.

Activist Masih Alinejad has encouraged women to post pictures of themselves without the compulsory hijab online as an act of protest in a campaign titled “White Wednesdays.”

Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency on July 29 cited the head of the Tehran Revolutionary Court as saying that “those who film themselves or others while removing the hijab and send photos to this woman … will be sentenced to between one and 10 years in prison,” AP reported.

Under Islamic laws enforced in Iran since the 1979 revolution, women are required to cover their hair and body in public and avoid tight-fitting clothing. The dress restrictions prompted immediate anger and protest four decades ago, but have remained in place.

More recently, women have increasingly pushed the boundaries by wearing small scarves or tight coats while exposing much of their hair. Some have removed their scarves while driving or otherwise in public to protest the laws.

Violators of the mandatory head-scarf rule are usually sentenced to up to two months in prison and fined around $25.