Sedigheh Vasmaghi, prominent Iranian writer and Islamic scholar

Iran Detains Female Writer, Religious Scholar

Saturday, 03/16/2024

Sedigheh Vasmaghi, a prominent writer and Islamic scholar in Iran, was apprehended by the country's security forces on Saturday and subsequently transferred to prison.

The development follows Vasmaghi's outspoken criticism of compulsory hijab laws and her characterization of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, as a “dictator”, and the ruling regime as “oppressive”.

Mohammad Ebrahimzadeh, Vasmaghi's husband, confirmed her arrest in a conversation with Emtedad News in Tehran, revealing that authorities had confiscated her mobile phone and personal laptop. He expressed concern over the lack of transparent information regarding his wife's situation, whereabouts, and the entity detaining her.

The sequence of events leading to Vasmaghi's detention includes her announcement on March 4 via Instagram of being summoned to the Evin Courthouse, a summons she declared she would not comply with until the reason and the plaintiff were clarified.

In a recent audio file shared on her Instagram, Vasmaghi continued her critique, particularly targeting Ali Khamenei's stance on hijab, asserting that he lacked the authority to dictate women's clothing choices and criminalize dissent.

Vasmaghi's activism against compulsory hijab gained attention after she removed her own hijab in protest, following the death of Armita Geravand, a teenager killed by hijab-enforcement agents in the Tehran metro last year.

The situation escalated in March 2023 when Vasmaghi was assaulted by security forces following Armita's funeral ceremony. Subsequently, in April 2023, she penned an open letter to Khamenei, directly holding him responsible for the adverse consequences of enforcing compulsory hijab laws on women, encompassing financial, physical, mental, social, and political ramifications.

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