Lawyer says Iranian woman jailed for discarding headscarf now freed
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Lawyer says Iranian woman jailed for discarding headscarf now freed

Release of female protester against Iran’s Islamic dress code comes as 3 other women are photographed without hijabs

An Iranian woman waving a white scarf -- an apparent reference to so-called 'White Wednesday' protests against mandatory clothing rules for women, December 27, 2017, in Tehran, Iran. (Screencapture: YouTube)
An Iranian woman waving a white scarf -- an apparent reference to so-called 'White Wednesday' protests against mandatory clothing rules for women, December 27, 2017, in Tehran, Iran. (Screencapture: YouTube)

TEHRAN, Iran — A woman arrested for posing without a headscarf in public in defiance of Iran’s Islamic dress code has been released after nearly one month in detention, a lawyer said Monday.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a renowned human rights lawyer, told AFP she saw the woman’s file at the prosecutor’s office and was told by a judicial official that she had been “freed.”

The woman has not been seen in public since she stood on a pillar box at one of Tehran’s busiest thoroughfares without the headscarf and long coat required under Islamic law.

Images posted on social media showed her waving a white scarf on a stick — an apparent reference to so-called “White Wednesday” protests against mandatory clothing rules for women.

The photographs are thought to have been taken on December 27, a day before economic protests broke out across the country, which helped the images go viral, even though they were apparently unconnected.

Thousands of social media users have shared messages, dubbing her the “Girl of Enghelab Street,” after the area in the capital where she staged the protest, and using the hashtag “Where_is_she?”

The woman’s identity was initially not known, but on Monday, Sotoudeh identified her as Vida Movahedi, adding that she received confirmation of her release from other sources.

Sotoudeh, who has been arrested and barred from working on several occasions over the years, declined to give further details, saying Movahedi “did not wish her case to draw large media coverage.”

A week ago, Sotoudeh, who won the European parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for human rights in 2012, raised concern over the fate of the woman, who is thought to be 31, and the mother of a 19-month-old baby.

Also on Monday, new pictures were posted on social media showing three other women posing without their headscarves, which they hoisted on sticks.

Snow could be seen in the background and appears to indicate the pictures were taken on Monday.

“Many girls and women are fed up because of this violence,” Sotoudeh said on Facebook, referring to the Islamic scarf.

“Let women take control of their bodies,” she added.

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