The Iranian authorities are working on a new law that extend prison sentences for women refusing to wear hijab. The proposed law also provides for increased penalties for business representatives and celebrities who do not adhere to the dress code.
According to CNN, the authorities Iran they are working on a new law targeting women. According to the station, the 70-page bill contains a number of proposals, including extending prison sentences for women who do not wear hijab and using artificial intelligence to target those who do not adhere to strict dress codes. The document will soon go to the parliament, which is expected to vote on it within two months, Iran’s state news agency Mehr reported.
Strict hijab law
As described by CNN, the bill defines no hijab as “clothing that shows part of the body below the neck, above the ankles or above the forearms”, and clothing that is too tight is also a violation of the law.
Among the proposed new regulations is an increase in penalties for not wearing a hijab – it is to be punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of 360 million Iranian riyals, or about 35,000. zloty. Currently, the penalty ranges from 10 days to two months in prison or carries a fine of up to 500,000. Iranian rials (approx. PLN 50).
The bill also states that in order to enforce the new law, the Iranian police will have to “create and strengthen artificial intelligence-based systems to identify perpetrators of illegal conduct.” It was indicated that stationary and mobile cameras would be used for this purpose. CNN recalls that earlier this year, Iranian media reported that cameras would be installed in public places to identify women who violate the hijab law.
The document also provides for tougher penalties for business owners and celebrities who do not comply with the requirement to wear a hijab. In the case of the former, the penalty is to be the equivalent of three months of the company’s profit and a ban on leaving the country or participating in public activities for two years. For celebrities, the penalty can be a fine of up to one-tenth of their wealth or exclusion from professional activities for a limited period of time, as well as a ban on foreign travel and social media activity.
Warning to Iranians
According to experts, the bill is a warning to Iranian women that the authorities in Tehran will not back down from their stance against wearing the hijab, despite the protests that took over the country in the fall of 2022. In September, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini she died after being detained by the morals police in connection with the headgear, which, according to the officers, did not sufficiently cover her hair.
According to Sanam Vakil, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the London-based think tank Chatham House, the proposed law is clearly related to these protests and is an attempt by the government to re-establish control over women. “They are trying to show that leniency will not be tolerated and that there is a clear system of penalties for those who disregard the dress code,” he said.
In turn, Hossein Raeesi, an Iranian activist dealing with human rights and a professor at Canada’s Carleton University in Ottawa, says some of the measures in the document have already been used by the authorities in Tehran, albeit in an “unlawful” way. The adoption of the act would legalize such activities.
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