Women’s Rights Activists sentenced to 55 years for protesting forced hijab

women’s rights activists

Three women’s rights activists held in Qarchak Prison have been sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison for removing their hijabs in public.

The Revolutionary Court of Tehran informed Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, and Mojgan Keshavar of their sentences in the absence of their lawyers on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

Branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court presided by the notorious judge, Mohammad Moghiseh, sentenced each of these prisoners to 5 years in prison for “association and collusion against national security,” one year for “disseminating propaganda against the state,” and 10 years for “encouraging and preparing the grounds for corruption and prostitution.” In addition to these charges, Mojgan Keshavarz has been sentenced to 7.5 years for “insulting the sanctities.” These add up to 55 years and six months in prison for the women’s rights activists.

The three activists had been informed of their charges on June 26, 2019, when they said the judge had told them in abusive language, “I will make you all suffer.”

On March 8, 2019, a video widely shared on social media showing Monireh Arabshahi, Yasaman Aryani and Mojgan Keshavarz without their headscarves,
distributing flowers to female passengers on a metro train in Tehran and discussing their hopes for women’s rights in Iran.

Following the posting of the video, Yasaman Aryani was arrested at home on April 10, 2019.

Aryani’s mother, Monireh Arabshahi, was arrested the next day after she went to the Vozara detention center in Tehran to inquire about her daughter’s whereabouts. She was then transferred to the notorious Qarchak Prison.

Yasaman Aryani was held in solitary confinement in Vozara detention center for 9 days under interrogation, pressure and ill-treatment to make forced confessions regarding her civil activities.

Mojgan Keshavarz was arrested by the state security forces on April 25, 2019 at her home in front of her nine-year-old daughter.

She was beaten in front of her daughter and subsequently taken away to an unknown location. Just before being arrested, Ms. Keshavarz was working as a volunteer to help the flood stricken residents of Lorestan.

The human rights global organization Amnesty International sent a letter to Iran’s top judicial official demanding the release of the women’s rights defenders.