Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian aid worker and former political prisoner, has cut her hair in solidarity with Iranian women protesting the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.
In a video published on the BBC Persian website, and shared by BBC Persian and BBC World News on Twitter, she declared: “For my mother, for my daughter, from the fear of being alone, for the women of my country, for freedom.”
London resident Zaghari-Ratcliffe was charged with espionage during a visit to her family in Tehran and spent six years in detention. She was finally released earlier this year after spending six years in Evin Prison and under house arrest.
“For the fears that are bigger than reality”— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 29, 2022
British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe cuts hair in support of Iran protestshttps://t.co/2CDy5GfTOD pic.twitter.com/5uguHeuzU2
Her protest echoed those of hundreds of women in Iran who have removed and burned their headscarves, and cut their hair, to protest the 43-year-old law that demands women dress modestly, including wearing a hijab to fully cover their hair.
Protests under the slogan "Woman, Life, Freedom!" erupted two weeks ago following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from Saqqez, after she was arrested by the morality police. The protests have brought thousands of women onto the streets across Iran. Security forces have responded with violence and force described as “unnecessary and disproportionate” by senior United Nations officials. Hundreds of women have been arrested and dozens killed.
Many prominent global figures in politics, arts and culture have declared their solidarity, including the popular Turkish singers Sezen Akso, Ebro Gondosh and Malek Musu. Philosopher and political scientist Noam Chomsky and novelist Margaret Atwood have called on social media for an end to the suppression of women by the Islamic Republic and the forced wearing of the hijab.