Woman with hijab
Woman with hijabiStock

Iranian authorities have whipped a woman 74 times for "violating public morals" and fined her for not covering her head, the judiciary said, according to the AFP news agency.

"The convicted, Roya Heshmati, encouraged permissiveness (by appearing) disgracefully in busy public places in Tehran," the judiciary's Mizan Online website said.

"Her penalty of 74 strokes of the lash was carried out in accordance with the law and with sharia," and "for violating public morals," Mizan added.

Kurdish-focused rights group Hengaw identified Heshmati as 33-year-old woman of Kurdish origins.

She was arrested in April "for publishing a photo on social media without wearing a headscarf," her lawyer Maziar Tatai told the reformist Shargh daily.

Heshmati was also ordered to pays a fine of 12 million rials (around $25) for "not wearing the Muslim veil in public", Tatai said.

All women in Iran have been required by law to cover their neck and head since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Whippings for breaching the dress code are uncommon in Iran, but officials have increasingly cracked down on those defying the rules after the practice surged during anti-government protests that began in late 2022.

The protests were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly breaching the rules.

Since then, a growing number of Iranian women have been seen in public without hijab head scarves or observing the rules against clothes that are deemed too tight-fitting or otherwise revealing.

Last April, Iranian authorities announced that cameras would be installed in public places and thoroughfares to identify and penalize unveiled women.

Three months later, Iranian authorities announced a new campaign to force women to wear the Islamic headscarf. Following the announcement, morality police returned to the streets.

In September, a new bill was passed which stipulates that Iranian women who flout the strict Islamic dress code would face up to 10 years' prison.