A well-known Iranian comedian who has spoken against the compulsory hijab announced on February 6 that her two-year prison sentence has been upheld.
Zeinab Mousavi was arrested in the central city of Qom on October 12 and was released on bail in late November after spending 25 days in solitary confinement. She was handed a two-year sentence on unknown charges in December.
Mousavi, 33, has almost a million followers on Instagram, where she appears as the “Empress of Kuzcoo” – a parody of an old villager who wears a hijab that reveals only her nose. The comedian has criticized the Islamic Republic’s rules on mandatory hijab in her comic videos. She is also a stand-up comedian who appeared on state TV.
In Iran, all women and girls over the age of 9 must conceal their hair with a headscarf while in public and wear loose fitting trousers under their coats.
Mousavi’s arrest and prosecution came as the country has been in turmoil since a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody following her arrest for not wearing the hijab.
The authorities have cracked down hard on the women-led protest movement triggered by Amini’s death, killing more than 520 people and detaining over 18,000, activists say. Following biased trials, the judiciary handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.
Since the eruption of the widespread demonstrations, a growing number of Iranian women, including celebrities, have appeared in public without the mandatory headscarf. Some have been arrested or summoned by the authorities.