Islamic scholar Sedigheh Vasmaghi

Jailed Iranian Activist Transferred To Hospital Without Mandatory Hijab

Thursday, 04/18/2024

Activist and Islamic scholar Sedigheh Vasmaghi, imprisoned for her opposition to the mandatory hijab in Iran, was sent to hospital from Tehran's notorious Evin prison on Monday without a headscarf.

It is an unprecedented move from Iran's authorities who refuse treatment to prisoners unless they comply with compulsory hijab regulations. High profile cases such as Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi have been the face of the regime's brutality for prisoners compelled to wear hijab in exchange for medical treatment. Mohammadi was the sole activist reportedly granted hospital visits without hijab on three separate occasions.

Vasmaghi's Instagram account reported on Wednesday that she was taken to the hospital for eye tests with three male and female agents while refusing to wear a headscarf. It is unclear how the regulations were waived when so many cases have been denied treatment.

The outspoken activist was arrested in early March for her criticism of the compulsory hijab law and for describing Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as a “dictator” and the regime in power as “oppressive.”

Over 300 political and civil activists in Iran have campaigned for her release in the past week and expressed concern for her health. They expressed their dismay that Vasmaghi had been imprisoned despite her severe visual impairment.

Prior to this, Vasmaghi was denied access to adequate medical care. Iran International had learned from a family source that her health deteriorated on Monday morning, with her heart rate exceeding 120 and her blood pressure exceeding 160.

Narges Mohammadi, a Nobel laureate and jailed Iranian human rights activist, also expressed concern about Vasmaghi’s well-being and wrote on her Instagram account on April 2: "I protest against the government's terrible and deadly repression against Iranian women."

Nevertheless, Vasmaghi, the former professor at Tehran's university, has been vocal in her protests while in prison. Against the backdrop of Iran's recent crackdown on women for hijab rules, in a message from April 2024, Vasmaghi condemned the government's actions as "antipatriotic and contrary to national interests."

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