World

Iran to impose tougher punishments on women who refuse to wear headscarf

Iran has passed a law to impose more severe punishments on women who refuse to wear the mandatory Islamic headscarf in public. 

The new legislation comes just days after the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by the morality police for violating the country’s dress code.

Her death in custody sparked months of protests in which demonstrators called for the overthrow of Iran’s theocracy.

The bill extends punishments to business owners who serve women not wearing the hijab and activists who organise against it.

Anyone who violates the legislation could face up to 10 years in prison if the offence occurs in an organised way.

The bill, which was approved by 152 members of Iran’s 290-seat parliament, requires ratification by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that serves as a constitutional watchdog.

It would take effect for a preliminary period of three years.

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Protests mark anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death

The protests sparked by Ms Amini’s death on 16 September 2022 died down early this year following a heavy crackdown on dissent in which more than 500 protesters were killed and more than 22,000 detained.

But many women continued to flaunt the rules on wearing the hijab, prompting a new campaign to enforce them in recent months.

Read more:
How protesters are waging a secret war against regime
Teen ‘abducted’ and ‘tortured’ for second time

Iran’s clerical rulers view the hijab law as a key pillar of the Islamic Republic and blamed the protests on Western nations.

The protesters said they were motivated by anger over the dress code as well as what they see as the corruption and poor governance of the country’s ruling clerics.

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