Iran police publicly beating women who protest the mandatory hijab, group says

Shaparak Shajarizadeh. (Twitter / Masih Alinejad)

Iranian authorities are reportedly cracking down on women protesting against the mandatory hijab by publicly beating them, imprisoning them in solitary confinement, and threatening them with prison sentences of up to 10 years. According to Amnesty International, more than 35 women have been attacked and arrested by police who have begun to charge protesters such as Narges Hosseini with “inciting corruption and prostitution.” Another woman facing a possible decade-long prison sentence is Shaparak Shajarizadeh, who has reportedly been subjected to torture, beatings, and injection with an unidentified substance while being held in solitary confinement in Shahr-e Rey prison. According to Masih Alinejad of My Stealthy Freedom, Shajarizadeh had been taking part in the ‘White Wednesdays’ campaign, in which men and women in Iran have protested compulsory hijab, prior to her arrest.

The increasing number of women publicly protesting the mandatory hijab by standing on utility boxes and waving their headscarves on a stick like a flag has spawned another name for the movement on social media, the hashtag #GirlsOfRevolutionStreet. But it has also drawn harsh condemnation from many of Iran’s most powerful authorities. According to the Chief Prosecutor of Iran and the Head of the Revolution Court in Tehran, the protesters are simultaneously “infantile,” “perverted,” “deceived,” and “wicked.” Iran’s judiciary spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, has also claimed that the protesters are being paid by “organized criminal groups” and that they are “acting under the influence of ‘synthetic’ drugs.”

Late last month, an eyewitness reported that a plainclothes police officer pushed Hamraz Sadeghi off of a utility box and beat her, fracturing her elbow. Video of Maryam Shariatmadari being pushed from a concrete structure by a police officer went viral on Persian social media on February 22. According to friends of Shariatmadari, she suffered injuries requiring surgery from the fall but has been denied access to adequate medical care while being held in Shahr-e Rey prison. Shariatmadari’s mother, Mitra Jamshidzadeh, was also reportedly detained and subjected to beatings for daring to ask authorities where they had taken her daughter.

Below, watch the video of Shariatmadari being pushed down during her protest.

Read the full story at Amnesty International.


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