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Iranian woman whipped 74 times for refusing to wear hijab

An Iranian woman received 74 lashes for refusing to wear the hijab, defying the strict dress code even as she was taken to be whipped.

Roya Heshmati, 33, was charged with “encouraging permissiveness” after appearing unveiled on several occasions in the capital, Tehran.

“Her penalty of 74 strokes of the lash was carried out in accordance with the law and with sharia,” and “for violating public morals,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said late on Saturday.

Ms Heshmati was also reportedly ordered to pay a fine of 12 million rials (£225).

“The convicted … encouraged permissiveness [by appearing] disgracefully in busy public places in Tehran,” Mizan reported.

All women in Iran have been required by law to cover their neck and head since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Roya Heshmati posted a photo of herself online without the mandatory hijab

Roya Heshmati posted a photo of herself online without the mandatory hijab – Agenzia Nova

Whippings for breaching the dress code are uncommon, although officials have increasingly cracked down on those defying the rules after the practice surged during anti-government protests that began in late 2022.

The mass demonstrations were triggered by the September 2022 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd arrested for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

During the protests, female demonstrators cast off their headscarves or even burned them.

Other women also increasingly began to flout the dress code, leading to the crackdown.

Ms Heshmati was identified as being of Kurdish origins by Hengaw, a Kurdish-focused rights group.

Iranian women risk uncovering their heads in Tehran after morality police were reinforced in 2023

Iranian women risk uncovering their heads in Tehran after morality police were reinforced in 2023 – Majid Asgaripour/Wana

“As the lashes struck my body, I whispered, ‘In the name of woman, in the name of life, dawn will come,’” BBC Persian quoted her as saying, adding she had refused to cover her hair even as she was transported to be flogged.

She was arrested in April “for publishing a photo on social media without wearing a headscarf”, her lawyer Maziar Tatai told the reformist Shargh daily.

Ms Heshmati was also charged with “not wearing the Muslim veil in public”, he added.

Officials have installed surveillance cameras in public places to monitor violations of the hijab law and have shut businesses that breached the rules.

Iran’s parliament has also discussed a bill that would toughen penalties for those breaching the dress code.

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