Middle East Iran toughens the penalty for violating the veil dress code with up to ten years in prison

This Wednesday, Iran toughened the punishment for not wearing the Islamic veil correctly in public spaces with up to ten years in prison

Middle East Iran toughens the penalty for violating the veil dress code with up to ten years in prison

This Wednesday, Iran toughened the punishment for not wearing the Islamic veil correctly in public spaces with up to ten years in prison. The approval of the amendment coincides with the first anniversary of the protests over the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, the young woman who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing her veil correctly. The so-called "Bill to support the family by promoting the culture of chastity and hijab" was approved with 152 votes in favor, 34 against and seven abstentions. The regulations require final approval from Iran's Guardian Council, which is expected to review and approve in the coming days.

Until now, the law contemplated penalties of between ten days and two months in prison for violating the dress code. The new legislation toughens the penalty from five to ten years in prison, while the fines also rise considerably, from ten euros to 7,000. The increase in fines is considerable, taking into account that the minimum wage in Iran barely exceeds 200 euros per month. Penalties for violating the dress code also include punishments of up to 60 lashes for breaking the law. The law will apply for three years and after this period, it will be reviewed again.

The code contains seventy articles that restrict the dress code and behavior of women in different social situations. Rights groups have interpreted it as an attempt to stop the anti-government protests that have taken place since Amini's death in police custody. For example, the law contemplates fines for those who "promote nudity" or "make fun of the hijab" in the media and social networks, in a clear allusion to the act of protest by thousands of women who have removed or burned their veils. in public spaces to demand more freedoms. It also punishes those groups of people who violate the dress code "in an organized manner" or "in cooperation with the government, media or foreign organizations."

The measure was approved on the birthday of the young Amini and a few days after the anniversary of her death. The images of Amini admitted to the hospital, with clear signs of having been beaten in police custody, unleashed unprecedented anger in all cities of the country. Thousands of women took to the streets shouting "Woman, life and freedom" to ask for more rights, in massive events that led to massive demonstrations against the regime, demanding more freedoms and economic improvements.

While authorities initially removed street morale police, the body that controls women's dress code among other duties, the gesture was brief and the situation has worsened considerably. The government has not given in one bit to the demands on the street and has accused protesters of being influenced by foreign powers seeking to undermine Tehran's authority. At least 500 people have died in police actions during the protests, while seven people have been executed. Twenty have been sentenced to death for their alleged participation in anti-government protests. In addition, more than 20,000 people have been arrested for allegedly being involved in the demonstrations, including twenty journalists. Two reporters, who revealed Amini's case in the media, are imprisoned and their trial, closed to the public and even to the defendants' lawyers, is still ongoing. At least three relatives of the accused have also been detained and interrogated in recent months. Rights groups have reported humiliation, torture and even sexual assault in police custody. Dozens of women have also been detained in their homes for answering questions to the foreign press about the protests in the country.

On the other hand, the law also specifies other types of penalties that extend the punishments to third parties. Thus, the authorities may close businesses or impose fines if the dress code is not complied with in those spaces. Sex segregation is also required in government offices, universities, hospitals and public parks. The United Nations and rights groups have interpreted the regulations as an attempt at "gender apartheid." "The bill could be described as a form of gender apartheid, as the authorities appear to be ruling through systematic discrimination with the intention of repressing women and girls into total submission," the UN panel said. on the proposed law on September 1. "It violates fundamental rights, including the right to participate in cultural life, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful protest and the right to access social, educational and health services," the experts said.

In February, authorities attempted to impose smart surveillance systems to enforce the dress code without success. However, the new legislation gives authorities more powers to use intelligence systems in public spaces at will to monitor women, especially those who drive in their private vehicles without the Islamic veil.