Iran arrests woman shown in viral photo eating breakfast in public without hijab

Sister says Donya Rad transferred to notorious wing of Tehran’s Evin prison run by intelligence ministry amid ongoing protests of death of a woman in custody of morality police

Donya Rad (R) was arrested after posting this picture of her eating breakfast in Iran without an hijab, her family said on September 30 2022 (Twitter)
Donya Rad (R) was arrested after posting this picture of her eating breakfast in Iran without an hijab, her family said on September 30 2022 (Twitter)

PARIS — Iran has arrested a woman who was shown eating out without a headscarf in an image that went viral on social media during the protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, her sister said Friday.

The picture showed Donya Rad sitting in a traditional Tehran restaurant apparently eating breakfast, in the company of a female friend who is also without a headscarf.

The image was widely shared on social media by users, who applauded the two women for their civil disobedience in the face of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

Amini died earlier this month following her arrest by the country’s strict morality police who enforce the rules for the obligatory hijab.

“Yesterday after this photo was published, the security agencies contacted my sister Donya Rad and asked her to give some explanations,” her sister Dina wrote on Twitter.

“Today, after going where she was told, she was arrested. After a few hours of silence, Donya told me in a short call that she was transferred to ward 209 of Evin prison,” she said, referring to a notorious wing of the Tehran jail which is reputedly run by the intelligence ministry.

“Our family is very concerned about her well-being,” she added.

Persian media outside Iran have over the last few days pointed to growing images of civil disobedience, with women in Iran sharing images of themselves walking, shopping or in cafes without headscarves.

“They just went to get breakfast without headscarves. They were arrested. This is how brutal/sick the hijab policy is in Iran,” commented prominent US-based campaigner and journalist Omid Memarian on Twitter.

Some on social media compared Rad’s actions to those of Rosa Parks, the American black civil rights activist who resisted segregation on buses, putting together images of Parks on a bus with Rad in a cafe.

Iranian women hold signs during a vigil with the Iranian American Women Foundation (IAWF) in solidarity with women in Iran who are fighting for their human rights, in West Hollywood, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Prominent songwriter and poet Mona Borzouei was also arrested, activists said, after she posted a video of herself reading a poem declaring: “We will take this homeland back from your hands.”

Activists say Iran is in the throes of one of its most ferocious crackdowns in years to suppress the protests that erupted in the wake of Amini’s death, with some two dozen journalists rounded up as well as activists and cultural figures.

Former Iranian international football player Hossein Manahi was arrested Friday after supporting the protests on his social media accounts, the state-run IRNA news agency said.

Security forces also arrested singer Shervin Hajipour, whose song “Baraye” (“For”) made up of tweets about the protests went viral on Instagram, the rights group Article 19 and Persian-language media based outside Iran said.

His song, which racked up millions of views on Instagram and prompted many to comment that it moved them to tears, has now been removed from his account.

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