Iconic Iranian Antihijab Protester Jailed For One Year; Human Rights Lawyer's 13-Year Sentence Upheld

An Iranian woman who inspired antihijab protests by removing her obligatory Islamic head scarf in a public gesture of defiance says has been sentenced to one year in prison but pardoned by the supreme leader, her lawyer says.

Lawyer Payam Derefshan said on April 14 that a court sentenced Vida Movahed in March after finding her guilty of encouraging public "corruption" after she was arrested in November 2018.

Derefshan said Movahed was on a pardon list but the release procedures were still under way. There was no comment from the Iranian authorities.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei occasionally issues pardons.

Movahed, 32, known as the "Girl of Enghelab Street" was briefly arrested in 2017 after she took off her head scarf and held it in the air while standing on a utility box on Enghelab (Revolution) Street in Tehran on December 27, 2017.

The authorities detained 29 women on similar charges the following year.

Women's dress has been heavily scrutinized in Iran since the 1979 revolution, when adherence to an Islamic dress code became compulsory.

The dress code dictates that women's hair and body must be covered in public.

Also on April 14, an Iranian appeals court upheld the 13-year prison sentence of a human rights lawyer who had been imprisoned after voicing support for antigovernment protesters, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Mohammad Najafi was sentenced in December 2018 for "conveying information to a hostile country" through interviews with foreign media, insulting the supreme leader, and publicly supporting opposition groups.

The same appeals court reduced the sentence of his associate, Ali Bagheri, from 12 years to five years.

Protests broke out in dozens of Iranian cities and towns in late 2017 and early 2018 over rising prices and other grievances.

With reporting by AP and IRNA