The Iranian parliament on Wednesday approved new legislation imposing tougher penalties on women who violate hijab rules, days after the first anniversary of wearing the hijab. Mass protests Its effects The death of Mahsa Amini.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, died last September after she was arrested by the regime’s notorious morality police, allegedly for not adhering to the country’s conservative dress code.
The so-called “hijab bill” will be enacted for a trial period of three years. It defines Various regulations About wearing clothing, which if violated can lead to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
The bill says women who do not wear the hijab properly in public and men who wear “revealing clothing that shows parts of the body below the chest or above the ankles” will receive fines that gradually increase after repeated violations.
The bill also sets out penalties for celebrities and companies who do not comply.
The Guardian Council, which oversees legislative matters in the Islamic Republic, still needs to approve the draft law before it can be implemented. All bills passed by Parliament must be reviewed and approved by the Council to become law.
Majid Asghari Pour/Wana/Reuters
Women walk on a street in Tehran on April 15, 2023. On Thursday, the Iranian parliament passed a controversial bill that tightens penalties against women who do not wear the hijab properly.
Parts of the bill are ambiguous. For example, the legislation fails to define what constitutes “semi-nude” in public – an offense punishable by fourth-degree imprisonment. Under Iran’s penal code, fourth-degree punishment carries a prison sentence of five to 10 years and a fine of between 180 million rials ($4,260) and 360 million rials ($8,520).
Article 50 of the new law stipulates that “any person who appears naked or semi-naked in public places or on the streets, or appears in a way that is traditionally considered naked, will be arrested immediately.”
The new draft law adds that those who collude with foreign media and governments to promote nudity, inappropriate hijab or inappropriate dress face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The draft law stipulates that those found guilty of mocking or insulting the hijab face a fine, in addition to the possibility of being banned from traveling for up to two years.
The bill also targets “socially influential” people who, if found guilty of violating the bill, could face the same fourth-degree prison sentence and may be required to pay 1% to 5% of their total assets as a fine.
The restrictions imposed by the draft law extend to models and toys, which are prohibited from being photographed in an indecent manner.
The controversial bill may He received a conviction From many human rights defenders. UN experts said this may amount to “racial gender segregation.”
the A draft law consisting of 70 articles It includes a range of proposals, including using artificial intelligence to identify women violating the dress code.
Experts said the draft law was a warning to Iranians that the regime would not back down from its position on the hijab despite mass demonstrations last year.
Amini’s death sparked nationwide protests that shook the country, posing one of the biggest internal threats to Iran’s ruling theocracy in more than a decade.
The authorities responded violently to suppress the movement, which continued for months Widespread reports of deaths, disappearances and torture Under arrest.
Sanam Vakil, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, a think tank in London, said this is “a clear response to the protests that broke out in September last fall.” He told CNN in August Before the bill was presented to Parliament, she added that the institution was trying to “reassert its authority over the hijab and the requirements expected of women.”
According to Hossein Raisi, an Iranian human rights lawyer and assistant professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, some of the measures in the draft law have already been practiced “illegally” by Iranian security forces, including the Iranian security forces. The recent closure of the insurance company In Tehran, after some pictures of female employees without the hijab spread on social media.
Raisi said that through this draft law, the government will work to “legitimize the illegal behavior” of those forces.
Iran’s morality police largely withdrew following last year’s protests, but in August, police spokesman General Saeed Montazerd al-Mahdi said the morality police would resume notifying and then detaining women caught without the Islamic head covering in public places.
Wearing the hijab has been mandatory for women in Iran since 1983, after the country’s authoritarian monarchy was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The new law tightens the fines stipulated under the current Islamic Penal Code, with those who violate the dress code already facing a prison sentence of between 10 days and two months, or a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 Iranian rials, which today ranges from $1.18 to $11.82. .
Under the new law, business owners who do not enforce hijab requirements will face harsher fines, up to three months of their business profits, and face a ban from leaving the country or participating in public or online activities for up to two years.
The bill would also impose broader gender segregation on universities — common hotbeds of civil protests — and other public places.
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