An Iranian court on Monday convicted Zeinab Mousavi for speaking against Iranian hijab laws and for criticizing the nations suppressing laws against women. The court sentenced the former comedian to two years in prison.
Zeniab was arrested in the central city of Qom on October 12 after she poked fun at the country’s strict and oppressing laws against women. She spent 25 days in solitary confinement after her arrest. Later in November, she was released on a bail. However, on February 6 it was announced that she was found guilty of the crime and was sent to prison.
Zeniab Mousavi’s Breakthrough
Mousavi broke down several obstacles to become the nation’s first female stand-up comic and achieved widespread acclaim and notoriety. She is popularly known as “The Empress of Kuzco” and has a massive following on the social media platform Instagram. She often uses her account to criticize Iran’s rules of compulsory hijab for women, irrespective of their choice.
“Being a female stand-up comedian in Iran is like competing in a swimming competition while you are three meters behind the starting line and your hands and legs are tied,” she said in an interview. “Considering Iranian cultural and social norms, doing stand-up here is really difficult, and doing it as a female comedian is even harder.”
She also explains how she is surrounded by threats from multiple people online and from authorities offline after her video. She said, “these are bitter times for me because I get threats to be attacked by acid, or they want to run me over or do harm to me, I get sworn at. I’m under pressure.”
Her small appearance on the recent television show sparked anger among the Islamic heads and the majority led to her arrest. Her online identity was a spoof of an elderly peasant with a headscarf that covers everything but her nose. It was a sly parody of the medieval standards for women’s appearance set by Islam’s most chauvinist males.
The nation has been in upheaval since Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died in police custody after being detained for not donning the hijab, which led to Mousavi’s arrest and conviction.
The judicial system sentenced demonstrators to harsh punishments, including the death penalty. A rising number of Iranian women, even famous ones, have been spotted in public without the country’s obligatory headscarf since the outbreak of the countrywide protests. Authorities have either detained some people or sentenced them to prison.
Iranian Couple sentenced to 10 years in jail after women were seen not wearing Hijab
However, this is not the first time when the Islamic republic was exposed for using unethical and absolutely wrong methods to suppress women. In the name of religion, the country made major alternations to the rules and made the hijab compulsory for all girls.
In November of last year, Amir Mohammad Ahmadi and Astiyazh Haghighi were detained after a video of them dancing in front of Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Tower went viral. The authorities viewed Haghighi’s appearance in the video—without a scarf or a hijab—as an attempt to express disapproval of the nation’s stringent Islamic regulations as she danced with a male figure alone at night in front of a well-known monument.
In the video, the couple can be seen dancing in the streets of Iran. The woman in the video is not wearing a headscarf or hijab. According to antiquated Islamic law, the court found them guilty of “encouraging corruption” and “public prostitution.” They have received 10 years and six months in prison sentences. The couple is also prohibited from using the internet and is forbidden from leaving Iran for two years.
Iran’s Hijab Row And Massive Public Outrage
According to the laws of the Islamic Republic nation, all women and girls over the age of 9 must should conceal their hair with a headscarf while in public and wear loose-fitting trousers under their coats. This is what led to massive outrage and widespread protest in Iran. Approximately 18200 individuals, including journalists, attorneys, professors, students, and civil rights activists, have been detained since the start of the national rallies.
It all began when Where is she? (#_, “Where is the girl of Enghelab Street?” in Persian) was a trending hashtag on social media on December 27, 2017, after images and videos of Movahed waving her scarf appeared. Initially unknown, the mother was apprehended on the scene with her 19-month-old child.
The protesters were gradually arrested and sentenced. But things went out of control when women who were detained died in police custody. Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian lady, was slain by police violence on September 16, 2022, while being held by the Guidance Patrol in Tehran. Amini’s passing ignited a wave of anti-hijab demonstrations across the nation and in many parts of the world.
In Tehran on September 20, 2022, amid the Iranian demonstrations that followed Mahsa Amini’s passing, 16-year-old Nika Shakarami (Persian: ) vanished. Ten days later, her family was told of her passing. She had passed away under mysterious circumstances, maybe due to a security force assault.
It was followed by thousands of protests including women cutting their hair, and burning the hijab in solidary with every woman protester who died seeking justice and freedom against the misogyny and cruel authorities of the country.