Iran’s Judicial Authority wants to re-enforce a law providing for severe penalties, such as exile, for those who do not respect the obligation to wear the veil, a local agency said on Tuesday.
The announcement comes as Iran is rocked by protests sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest by vice squad for allegedly violating the dress code for women.
“The police recently received a directive from the public prosecutor ordering them to act firmly against any violation of wearing the veil,” said Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, the deputy public prosecutor, quoted by the Mehr news agency.
In this context, “the courts must condemn the offenders, in addition to a fine, to additional penalties […] such as exile, prohibition to exercise a certain profession and closure of the workplace”, added Mr. Khoramabadi.
These penalties are applicable to anyone who does not respect the compulsory wearing of the veil, such as an unveiled woman or a restaurant owner who welcomes a client without a hijab.
After the beginning of the protest movement following Amini’s death, more and more women were seen bareheaded in the street, or in cars, without causing a reaction from the police.
But in early January, local media reported that police had resumed monitoring the wearing of hijabs in cars, texting the owner of the car if the woman driving the car failed to observe the veil, without threatening of penalties.
“The absence of a veil is a flagrant offense and the police must arrest those responsible and bring them to justice,” the deputy prosecutor said on Tuesday.
In recent weeks, justice has closed several cafes and restaurants for having welcomed unveiled customers.
Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed during the protests and thousands arrested, according to authorities who generally denounce “riots”.
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