Iranian woman arrested for taking off headscarf freed

An Iranian woman detained after taking off her headscarf during a peaceful protest in December has been freed 

An Iranian woman detained after taking off her headscarf and holding it on a stick in Tehran last month has been freed, a human rights lawyer said.

The woman, whose name is unknown, took her headscarf off while protesting peacefully against the country’s mandatory Islamic dress code.  

She became the face of protests in the country in December, and images of her were widely shared on social media.

"The girl of Enghelab Street has been released," lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh wrote in a post on her Facebook page on January 28.

She was referring to the avenue where the woman took off her headscarf - a punishable offence in Iran.

Iranian officials have so far made no public comments on the issue.

Sotoudeh said she had gone to the prosecutor's office to follow up the case and learned of her January 27 release from detention.

"I hope they don't fabricate a legal case to harm her for using her basic rights," the lawyer said. "She has not done anything wrong to deserve prosecution."

The woman is believed to be a 31-year-old mother of a toddler.

She has become a symbol of defiance against the strict dress code enforced in Iran.

A hashtag in Persian asking about her whereabouts - and English-language equivalents #where_is_she and #WhereIsShe - have been used thousands of times on Twitter, as well as on other social media channels used in the country where dissent is often met with repression.

In a January 24 statement, Amnesty International called on Iranian authorities to “immediately and unconditionally” release the woman.

Women's dress has been heavily scrutinized in the Islamic republic 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.

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