A news agency reported on Tuesday that Iran’s court has instructed police to “firmly punish” those who break the country’s hijab law, following nearly four months of deadly protests against the regulations.
Since the September 16 death in jail of 22-year-old ethnic Kurd Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in Tehran for allegedly violating the law, protests have rocked Iran.
Since the protests started, the morality police unit that was supposed to enforce the hijab rules has been less visible, and women have taken to the streets without the required headscarves.
But since the beginning of the year, the government has shown less tolerance. For example, police have warned that women must wear headscarves even in cars.
On Tuesday, the Mehr news agency said that the prosecutor general had given a directive in which the police were told to punish any violations of the hijab law with force.
It said that the judiciary had said, “Courts must sentence violators to more punishments than just fines, such as exile, bans on practicing certain professions, and closing of workplaces.”
Iran has put to death four people because of the protests that started when Amini died while being held by the morality police. Another 13 people have been given death sentences, and six of them have been given new trials.
Authorities say that hundreds of people, including security staff, have been killed and thousands of people have been arrested because of the protests, which they call “riots” in general.
In the past few weeks, the courts have shut down a number of cafes and restaurants for serving women without headscarves.