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Protests have spread across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in police custody on 16 September 2022, after reported torture by the country’s morality police.
Amini was arrested in Tehran for wearing her headscarf too loosely, with her tragic death triggering violent civil unrest across the country in a stand against the government’s regime and its oppression of women, particularly in relation to its hijab laws.
In the days since Amini’s death, Iranian women have been publicly removing their headscarves – a punishable crime in the country, with many going on to burn their hijabs and cut their hair in an act of defiance to the government.
“Hijab police killed Mahsa Amini but now there are millions of Mahsa in Iran,” wrote Iranian activist Darya Safai as the protests began. “We will fight. We will win.”
Iranian women across the world have been removing their headscarves and cutting their hair in solidarity with those protesting inside the country.
Among them is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian national who was arrested in Tehran in 2016 while working as a charity project manager. She spent six years detained in Iranian jail on accusations of spying, despite continually denying the allegations. She was finally released on 16 March 2022 after Britain paid Iran an outstanding debt of £393.8 million.
The video released this week via BBC Persian shows Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe cutting her hair with scissors in a sign of solidary with the protesters in Iran.
“For my mother, for my daughter, for the fear of solitary confinement, for the women of my country, for freedom,” she announced at the end of the video.
Civil unrest continues across Iran, with the government enforcing its most severe internet lockdown in years. 83 deaths have been recorded so far in the clashes between civilians and authorities.
We will continue to update this story.