Iranian intelligence agents have arrested a second young woman for removing her hijab in public to protest the country’s strict dress code for women, the woman’s lawyer told Radio Farda.
The woman, who was arrested January 29 after removing her hijab on a busy street in downtown Tehran, appears to have been inspired by the “Girl of Revolution Street,” an unidentified woman who removed her hijab and waved it like a flag over Tehran’s Enqelab (Revolution) Street December 27, 2017.
Video of the Girl of Revolution Street’s protest went viral, and more women were emboldened to express their dissatisfaction with compulsory hijab in similar protests.
“The woman now known as the ‘Second Girl of Revolution Street’ is named Nargess Hosseini,” renowned human rights lawyer and former prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has agreed to represent Hosseini, told Radio Farda. “She was arrested and her bail was set at $140,000.”
"Presumably the judge knows the financial situation of Ms. Hosseini’s family, and issuing such a heavy bail shows they intended to keep her behind bars," said Sotoudeh.
The charges against Hosseini have not yet been made public.
A note under Article 638 of the Iran’s Islamic Penal Code stipulates that “Women who appear in public without the Islamic hijab can be sentenced to up to two months in prison and be issued a fine up to 500,000 rials (roughly $13).
The Girl of Revolution Street has become a symbol of Iranian women’s resistance to the compulsory hijab. Images of her one-woman protest December 27 flooded social media, where she has been lauded as a courageous defender of women’s rights.
Videos and photos shared widely on Facebook and Twitter showed Hosseini following the Girl of Revolution Street’s lead, removing her scarf and standing on an electric box for ten minutes, before plainclothes policemen stepped in and took her away.
Several other young women and at least one man have followed suit with similar protests.
The hijab has a complicated history in Iran. It was officially forbidden for women to wear the hijab in 1936 during the reign of Reza Shah, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty. But in 1941 Reza Shah abdicated to the Crown Prince Mohammad-Reza, who relaxed the dress code and allowed women to wear the hijab if they chose.
Just a few months after the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, a law forcing women to not only cover their heads, but also wear loose clothing to hide their figures, came into effect despite mass protest.
The mandatory hijab impacts all Iranian women and has been a focus of Iranian women’s rights campaigners for years. Iranian authorities show no signs of relenting on the hijab rule, however, and recently added 7,000 undercover agents to the country’s morality police to crackdown on women not wearing the hijab properly, Fox News reported.