An Iranian woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for removing her hijab during a protest in December last year.

Shapark Shajarizadeh said she had been jailed for "opposing the compulsory hijab" and "waving a white flag of peace in the street". 

The sentence was divided as such: two years behind bars, and 18 years of suspended imprisonment.

The 42-year-old woman was "subject to torture and beatings after her arrest," said her lawyer, who was also arrested last month, according to The Independent. 

Shajarizadeh was reportedly released on bail in April. Currently, her whereabouts remain unknown to the public.

Since December 2017, more than 30 Iranian women have been arrested by authorities for removing their veils in public.

The arrests came after women held massive protests in Iran in objection of the country's compulsory hijab.

In Iran, women are required to wear the hijab in public. Violators are at risk of jail time, alongside hefty fines.

"Women, who appear in public places and roads without wearing an Islamic hijab shall be sentenced to ten days to two months imprisonment or a fine of 50 thousand to five hundred rials," states Article 638 of Iran's Islamic Penal Code.

"My heart is bleeding"

"Just for demonstrating against forced hijab"


#ShaparakShajarizadeh is not alone

In March, Vida Movahed was sentenced to two years in prison for removing her headscarf during the recent protests in Iran.

According to The Independent, prosecutors argued that the woman encouraged "corruption through the removal of the hijab in public”.

The 31-year-old female demonstrator became a symbol for the fight against compulsory hijab after an image of her removing her headscarf in Tehran went viral.

She became known as the "Girl of Enghelab Street", referencing the place where she carried out the defiant act. "Enghelab" means "revolution" in Farsi.

The hijab has not always been a requirement for women in Iran

Pictured: Women protesting forced hijab days after the Iranian Revolution, 1979 Source: Rare Historical Photos

In the 1930s, the country's ruler Reza Pahlavi banned the garment altogether. However, following the country's violent revolution in the 1970s and the overthrow of the ruling family, the veil became a mandatory garment for women.

Iran's Head of State Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini announced the requirement in 1979. At the time, following his decision, tens of thousands of women marched in protest.

Pictured: Women protesting forced hijab days after the Iranian Revolution, 1979 Source: Rare Historical Photos