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Source: DW

Nov 27, 2023

Iran sues newspaper for publishing morality guard documents

The reformist newspaper Etemad published a secret document linking the Iranian government to volunteer morality guards. Among their other duties, the guards are tasked with enforcing the mandatory hijab for women.

The Iranian public prosecutor's office has brought charges against a prominent newspaper for publishing a top-secret government document about the country's volunteer morality guards.

The judiciary's Mizan news portal said on Sunday that Etemad, a reformist daily newspaper, had published the contents of a "highly confidential" document.

The document was an instruction from the Interior Ministry regarding the deployment of thousands of morality guards in public places to enforce the country's strict Islamic dress code for women.

Iran's morality guards in the spotlight

Iran's Interior Ministry distanced itself from the morality guards last week, arguing that they are civilian volunteers who are not part of the ministry or the official morality police.

However, the document published by Etemad shows deep links between the group and the ministry.

The volunteer morality guards sparked backlash last month after the death of 16-year-old Armita Geravand.

Geravand was hospitalized and fell into a coma in after she reportedly had a confrontation with morality guards on the Tehran Metro for not wearing a hijab. She died in hospital weeks later.

The incident prompted comparisons with the death of Jina Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who died in the custody of the morality police in 2022.

Her death led to unprecedent women's rights protests in Iran and around the world.

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