An Iranian woman has been sentenced to two years in jail for removing her obligatory Islamic headscarf in public in December. Shapark Shajarizadeh, said on her personal website that she was arrested for “opposing the compulsory hijab” and “waving a white flag of peace in the street”.
My heart is bleeding for #ShaparakShajarizadeh who’s reacting after she just found out she was sentenced to 20 years of prison. Let’s show her and the other brave #IranianWomen that they are not alone!#GirlsOfRevolutionStreet#Feminism#Freedom#NoToGenderDiscrimination pic.twitter.com/kBH27EvcpE
— Darya Safai (@SafaiDarya) July 8, 2018
She would now be serving two years in jail and another 18 years under a suspended prison sentence. A suspended prison sentence means that the defendant will be under probation.
The 42-year-old was arrested in February and she was among the 29 people who removed their headscarves as part of the campaign known as “White Wednesdays”. Sharjarizadeh was however released on bail in April after Amnesty International released a report saying that she was being subjected to torture and beatings after her arrest.
In Iran, women showing their hair in public face penalties ranging from a $25 fine to imprisonment.
White Wednesday is a social media campaign started by Masih Alinejad, the founder of ‘My Stealthy Freedom’, an online movement against the mandatory dress code. This movement encouraged women to post photos and videos of themselves wearing white headscarves.
The founder of the movement had said, “This campaign is addressed to women who willingly wear the veil, but who remain opposed to the idea of imposing it on others. Many veiled women in Iran also find the compulsory imposition of the veil to be an insult. By taking footages of themselves wearing white, these women can also show their disagreement with compulsion.”
This campaign h to a more intense protest. Many videos showing women removing their white scarves in public started surfacing.
20 years prison for #WhiteWednesdays activist against compulsory hijab in Iran. #ShaparakShajarizadeh sentenced 2 years prison+18 years Suspended imprisonment.I spoke with Shaparak she said millions of women are against compulsory hijab. Iran is a bigger prison for all of us pic.twitter.com/rLzeoTOvQa
— Masih Alinejad ️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 8, 2018
The Logical Indian take
Women being subjugated to medieval traditions is not consistent with the ethos of the 21st century. However, in many cases, when courageous people protest against these, the nay-sayers are the very same people whom the protestors are trying to help. It is hard to help someone who does not realise that he/she needs help.