ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 138

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Iran reporter defiant after release from prison for posting photo without headscarf

Nazila Maroufian, who was first arrested after interviewing Mahsa Amini’s father, says she has no regrets after pictures twice landed her in jail

A woman in the Cypriot capital Nicosia looks at a screen on November 4, 2022, displaying an undated video of Iranian journalist Nazila Maroufian, who according to a Norway-based human rights organisation, was arrested by the Iranian authorities on October 30, after she interviewed the father of Mahsa Amini. (Alex Mita/AFP)
A woman in the Cypriot capital Nicosia looks at a screen on November 4, 2022, displaying an undated video of Iranian journalist Nazila Maroufian, who according to a Norway-based human rights organisation, was arrested by the Iranian authorities on October 30, after she interviewed the father of Mahsa Amini. (Alex Mita/AFP)

PARIS — An Iranian journalist said Thursday she had no regrets over posting a picture of herself without a headscarf in defiance of Iran’s dress laws, sharing a similar image following her latest release from jail.

Nazila Maroufian last year interviewed the father of the young Iranian woman Mahsa Amini whose death in police custody sparked months of protests.

She walked out of Tehran’s Evin prison on Sunday after more than a month behind bars, posting on social media a picture of herself without a headscarf and the slogan “Don’t accept slavery, you deserve the best!”

She was promptly detained again and moved outside of Tehran to Qarchak women’s prison, where conditions have been criticized repeatedly by human rights groups.

But Maroufian, whose age is given by Persian media outside Iran as 23, was then released from Qarchak on Wednesday, she posted on social media.

“Do you regret the photo you posted when you were released? Do you admit you made a mistake?” she asked herself in a rhetorical question in the post.

Mahsa Amini, 22, who died after being arrested by Iranian modesty police. (Social media; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

“No; I didn’t do anything wrong,” she added in reply, posting a similar image of herself bareheaded in a white shirt with her right arm stretched up in a ‘V’ for victory sign.

Last October, Maroufian published an interview on the Mostaghel Online news site with Amjad Amini, the father of Mahsa Amini whose death in custody last September after she allegedly violated the dress rules sparked months of protests.

In the interview, Amjad Amini accused authorities of lying about the circumstances of his daughter’s death.

Iranian authorities have indicated she died because of a health problem, but the family and activists have said she suffered a blow to the head while in custody.

Maroufian, a Tehran-based journalist from Amini’s hometown of Saqez in Kurdistan province, was first arrested in November.

A woman in the Cypriot capital Nicosia looks at a screen displaying an image posted on the X (formerly Twitter) platform’s account of Iranian journalist Nazila Maroufian on August 13, 2023, reportedly showing her flashing the victory sign upon her release from Tehran’s Evin prison. (Alex Mita/AFP)

She was later released but in January said she had been sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for five years, on charges of propaganda against the system and spreading false news.

Her rapid return to prison after posting defiant images on her release recalled the case of labor activist Sepideh Gholian.

In March, Gholian was rearrested hours after she walked free from jail bare-headed and chanting slogans against Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Gholian, one of the most prominent female activists detained in Iran, remains in prison.

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