Hamideh Zaraei, Opponent of Mandatory Hijab, Begins Hunger Strike in Lakan Prison

Hamideh Zaraei, an opponent of compulsory hijab, has initiated a hunger strike to protest her continued detention in Lakan Prison, Rasht. She was detained on June 5 following a court appearance at Branch 13 of the Revolutionary Court in Rasht.

A source close to Ms. Zaraei’s family confirmed her hunger strike to HRANA, stating: “Hamideh had declared that if she was not released by Saturday, June 8, she would start a hunger strike. Today, when her sister attempted to visit her in Lakan Prison, officials barred the visit.”

Zaraei was initially arrested at her home on May 29, 2023, and taken to Kachooie Prison in Karaj.

On November 16, 2023, the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Karaj, led by Judge Musa Asaf Al-Hosseini, sentenced her to one year in prison, two years of exile to Rasht, a two-year travel ban, and a two-year ban from using social media. Following a plea of no contest, her prison term was reduced to nine months. Upon completing her sentence on February 22, 2024, she was released from Kachooie Prison and began her exile in Rasht.

Recently, Ms. Zaraei was summoned to Branch 13 of the Revolutionary Court in Rasht for further inquiries. Last Wednesday, after her court appearance, she was arrested and transferred to Lakan Prison.

The summons was related to her ongoing two-year exile term in Rasht, during which she was required to check in every three days at a local police station. Following several visits, the station’s officers demanded she wear a chador for her appearances—a condition Ms. Zaraei, who opposes mandatory hijab, refused. Subsequently, the police chief instructed her to cease her visits. This led to her being summoned to court once again after she failed to verify her continued residence in Rasht.

Previously, in 2022, Ms. Zaraei was arrested in connection with nationwide protests and was later released from Kachooie Prison on February 7, 2023, following an official pardon.