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A 20-year-old women’s rights activist from Iran was just sentenced to 24 years in jail, including 15 for removing her required hijab as part of an equality protest.
As Iran Human Rights Monitor reports, Saba Kord Afshari stood trial on August 19, 2019, and was charged with “spreading corruption and prostitution by taking off her hijab and walking without a veil,” “spreading propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion.” Her sentences were increased by one-half because of “numerous charges and previous records.”
The verdict was issued by branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and the lawyer of Ms Kordafshari was informed about it on August 27. Saba Kord Afshari was repeatedly pressured to make video confessions, something that she strongly resisted and refused to do. The Intelligence Ministry even arrested her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, to bring further pressure and force her to force her make false confessions.
Both Afshari and her mother, Raheleh Ahmadi, were involved in White Wednesday protests, in which girls and women remove their compulsory hijabs and reveal their hair in public, the Daily Mail reported.
The duo often posted videos of themselves walking around the capital city without their headscarves — in an effort to encourage other women to leave their hijabs at home, according to the report.
The girl was first arrested while attending a protest assembly on August 2, 2018, in front of Daneshjoo (Student) park in Tehran and taken to Qarchak prison. She was sentenced to one year in prison for “disruption of public order” and was transferred to the women’s ward of Evin Prison.
Kord Afshari said, “When I saw the situation of prisons closely, especially in Qarchak, I came to the conclusion that we in Iran only have the name of human rights. In fact, in Iran, there are no rights for humans, let alone respecting human rights in the prisons.”
Saba Kord Afshari was arrested again in early June 2019. Then, on July 2, she was taken to the Ward 2A in Evin Prison which belongs to the Intelligence Department of the Revolutionary Guards, and put under pressure to make forced confessions. Subsequently, she was returned to Qarchak and eventually transferred to the women’s ward of Evin on August 13, 2019.
Sentencing women who simply ask for their basic rights is unthinkable in today's world. Such cases should be condemned by all human rights organizations and severely sanctioned.