CHRI – Women caught with “bad hijabs” in Mazandaran Province, northern Iran, will face criminal prosecution and their vehicles will be impounded, warned a local prosecutor on June 27, 2017.
Iran’s “anti-vice” squads, also referred to as the “morality police,” are particularly busy in the hot summer months when Iranian women wear lighter clothing and are less observant of the mandatory hijab, the head-to-toe-covering Islamic dress code that women are expected to observe at all times in public.
The prosecutor of the city of Sari, Asadollah Jafari, also claimed that the so-called “bad hijabs” are a violation of Article 638 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code. However, the code does not specifically mention the hijab.
According to Article 638: “Anyone in public places and roads who openly commits a harām [sinful] act, in addition to the punishment provided for the act, shall be sentenced to two months’ imprisonment or up to 74 lashes; and if they commit an act that is not punishable but violates public prudency, they shall only be sentenced to ten days to two months imprisonment or up to 74 lashes.”
Jafari said that the authorities would be particularly strict “because the hot season is here and people are vacationing and going to the beach where it is necessary to observe Islamic norms.”
Any vehicles carrying women without a hijab, “such as motorcycles, jet skis, motorboats and the like” will also be impounded and held in judicial parking lots, he added.
According to Iran’s National Traffic Police Chief Teymour Hosseini, between May and December 2015, “there were more than 40,000 bad hijab cases, most of them involving passengers whose vehicles were impounded and reported to the judiciary.”
“The Islamic Republic rests on religious principles and observing chastity and the hijab in public are part of our official policy that needs more attention,” said Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi on June 25.
A local judge in Fars Province has meanwhile declared that women caught without a proper hijab will be forced to take a daylong “educational” course.
“We don’t want people to become repeat offenders, so therefore those who are arrested for wearing bad hijabs will not be taken to court, but instead will report to the Crime Prevention Office and take an eight-hour educational class,” said Fars Province Appeals Court Judge Esmail Akbari on June 28.