Iranian actress Afsaneh Bayegan has been sentenced to two years in prison for wearing a hat in public instead of the mandatory hijab, Iranian media reported. A year earlier, Bayegan had expressed support for Mahsa Amini, who was detained by the moral police for not covering her hair properly and died under mysterious circumstances.
The media reported the verdict shortly after a spokesman for the Iranian police announced that the “moral police” would return to the streets of the country, designed to look out for women in public places who do not respect the dress code and covering their hair. For wearing a hat instead of a hijab in public, the court sentenced Afsaneh Bayegan to two years in prison, suspended for five years.
In addition, the court ordered the actress to make weekly visits to a psychological center “for the treatment of mental disorders related to anti-family personality” and obliged her to submit a health certificate after treatment. Bayegan also lost the right to post on social media and leave Iran for two years, Fars news agency reported on Wednesday.
“Moral Police” in Iran
Afsaneh Bayegan is known for her role in the TV series “Sarbedaran”. A year ago, the actress expressed her support for Mahsa Amini, who was detained for not covering her hair properly and died under unexplained circumstances. This led to mass protests across Iran, in which at least 500 people were killed and tens of thousands were detained.
Morality Police returns after a year-long hiatus. Its patrols disappeared from Iranian streets last year as a result of months of protests following the death of Mahsa Amini. They will now again be tasked with ensuring that dress codes are respected and apprehending those perceived to be dressed ‘inappropriately’. During the checks, officers will first warn women who do not comply with the rules, said police spokesman Saeed Montazerolmahdi on Sunday, quoted by the Tasmin news agency. He added that if the women did not comply, the police could decide to take “legal action”.
Hijab – a must-have item of clothing
The hijab became compulsory for women and girls over the age of 9 in 1981, two years after Iran’s Islamic Revolution. According to Sharia law, women are required to cover their hair, ears and neck, and to wear long, loose clothing that hides their figure. After the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022, many women across the country took off their mandatory headgear as a gesture of defiance and solidarity with the deceased.
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