Iran’s chief prosecutor has instructed police to deal "decisively" with women failing to wear the compulsory hijab in public, local media report, amid nearly four months of nationwide protests demanding more freedoms and women’s rights.
Many Iranian women, including celebrities, have appeared in public without a hijab since the eruption of the woman-led protest movement triggered by the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police. Amini had been arrested for allegedly wearing her headscarf improperly.
The Islamic Republic’s "hijab and chastity" law requires women and girls over the age of 9 to wear a headscarf in public.
"The crime of removing the hijab is one of the obvious crimes, and law enforcement officers are obliged to arrest the perpetrators of obvious crimes and introduce them to the judicial authorities for punishment," semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Deputy Prosecutor-General Abulsamad Khorramabadi as saying.
Attorney-General Mohammad Montazeri “has recently ordered police to deal decisively with the crime of removing hijab throughout the country," he added.
The Islamic Republic has cracked down hard on the women-led protest movement, which represent one of the most serious challenges to the theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Security forces have killed more than 500 people and arrested over 18,000, activists say.
Two young men were hanged on January 7 amid international outrage, bringing to four the number of people executed so far in connection with the demonstrations.