Two Iranian actresses face legal action for not wearing a hijab in public
Two of Iran's most high profle cinema actresses are facing legal action after appearing in public without wearing hijabs. Afsaneh Bayegan and Fatemeh Motamedarya were attending a ceremony in Tehran on Sunday in honour of their fellow actor Atila Pesiani to mark his 66th birthday.
According to Tasnim news agency, the pair have been charged with "not wearing the hijab and disturbing the public's mind".
During the ceremony Afsaneh Bayegan wore a t-shirt with the slogan: "Don't look back, there is just one, don't regret." Bayegan is one of the stars of Iranian cinema from the 1960's and 1970's and also was runner-up in the 1976 Miss Iran beauty contest, two years before the Iranian revolution.
It was the first time that she's been seen in public without the mandatory hijab, but she often post pictures of without a headscarf on social media. The wearing of a hijab was made compulsory for women in Iran, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and has become a "symbol of oppression" according to Iranian poet and journalist Asieh Amini.
A history of resistance
Both actresses have been supporting the national uprising and accompaning womens since the start of the Iranian protests, 8 months ago.
Fatemeh Motamedarya, one of the most significant actress of post-revolutionary Iranian cinema, has since been sharing several photos of herself and attending multiple ceremonies without wearing the compulsory hijab. She also visited the families of some of the victims of the recent protests.
On September 13th, Mahsa Amini the 22-year-old Iranian woman was arrested by Iran’s morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress code for women. She died after three days in police custody, triggering mass protests.
The response of the Iranian regime to the protests has been brutal. According to Amnesty International and the NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), an estimated 300 to 500 people, including children, have been killed during the demonstrations.
In recent months, despite pressure, summons and arrests from security authorities, many female actresses and artists in Iran have appeared in public places without wearing a headscarf or shawl, demonstrating their opposition against the mandatory hijab.
Two weeks ago, the Tehran Police Information Center announced the filing of a legal case against the Iranian actresses Panthea Bahram and Ketayoun Riahi, after they appeared in public in Tehran without the compulsory veil.