Thousands of people protest the officers punishing with fines, jail time or flogging those detained for violating the Islamic code of conduct
Established after the triumph of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Morale Police (Gasht-e Ershad or Orientation Patrols, in Persian) is one of the security forces operating in Iran. Since the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish woman arrested for wearing the veil incorrectly, thousands of people have taken to the streets – not only in Tehran and other provinces of the area, but also in front of the embassies from other countries such as Spain, the United States, France or the United Kingdom – to protest the yoke of the theocratic regime. And at the center of the controversy is the moral police, accused of beating to death Amini and others who took part in the demonstrations.
But what is the function of this entity? It is charged with enforcing the Islamic code of conduct in public. In this way, it is in its power to stop women from violating the conservative dress code, which was imposed to “promote virtue and prevent vice.” Specifically, they focus on wearing the jihab correctly, assessing whether the woman is showing too much hair, her clothes are too short or her pants are too tight, and even if she is wearing too much makeup.
The law also prohibits the wearing of ripped pants, bright colors and dresses that expose the knees. “They told us that the reason we work for the Moral Police units is to protect women,” an officer who is part of this Iranian body told the BBC anonymously. “Because if they don’t dress appropriately, men can be provoked and hurt.”
How do they work? A van carrying male police officers accompanied by women in full body patrols in crowded public places such as plazas, shopping malls and subway stations. “It’s weird because if we’re just going to escort people, why do we have to pick a bustling place where we might have to arrest more people? It’s like we’re going to hunt,” said the officer.
The detainees are notified and in some cases taken to a “criminal chamber” where they receive lessons on how to dress and behave in public “with morality”. In principle, they are released the same day and handed over to a male relative. However, there are times when they are punished for violating the regulations, be it with fines, jail time, or even flogging.
This abuse of power is being denounced by the thousands of people who have taken to the streets since September 16, when Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman detained by the moral police, died. And not just them. Numerous families have denounced the deaths of their daughters during these protests. Hadis Nafaji (22), Nika Shahkarami (16) and Sarina Esmailzadeh (16) are other faces of the brutal repression of the Iranian regime that has caused the deaths of at least 185 people, 19 of them minors – during the demonstrations, according to the human rights organization Iran Human Rights.
Source: La Verdad
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