Iranian activists defy dress rules, chant pro-protest slogan upon release from prison

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Footage shared on social media on Wednesday showed two Iranian activists, Monireh Arabshahi and her daughter Yasamn Ariani, chanting “woman, life, freedom” – the main rallying cry of the protest movement triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini – upon their release from prison.

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Arabshahi and Ariani are opposed to the Islamic Republic’s compulsory hijab rules and were seen defying the regime’s dress rules for women by not wearing a headscarf in the video.

Both Arabshahi and Ariani were arrested in 2019. Arabshahi was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison, while Ariani was given five years.

Several other Iranian activists have been released in recent days.

Earlier this month, state media reported that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had pardoned “tens of thousands” of prisoners, including many arrested in recent anti-regime protests following the death in custody of Amini in September.

But right activists have expressed skepticism over that announcement, pointing out that many prominent figures remain in jail and activists continue to be arrested.

On Tuesday, the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO), which monitors human rights violations in Arab-populated regions in southwest Iran, reported that six Iranian Arab political prisoners have been sentenced to death, and six others have been handed jail sentences ranging from five to 35 years.

Amini was a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who died on September 16, shortly after being arrested by the morality police for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress rules for women.

Her death sparked months of protests that quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

The protests were met with a violent crackdown from authorities, who viewed the demonstrations as “riots” backed by foreign powers, namely the US and Israel.

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