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Vida Movahed stands on a utility box to remove her head scarf in protest on December 27, 2017, a move soon repeated by other women in Iran.

An Iranian woman who inspired antihijab protests by removing her obligatory Islamic head scarf in a public gesture of defiance says has been sentenced to one year in prison but pardoned by the supreme leader, her lawyer says.

Lawyer Payam Derefshan said on April 14 that a court sentenced Vida Movahed in March after finding her guilty of encouraging public "corruption" after she was arrested in November 2018.

Derefshan said Movahed was on a pardon list but the release procedures were still under way. There was no comment from the Iranian authorities.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei occasionally issues pardons.

Movahed, 32, known as the "Girl of Enghelab Street" was briefly arrested in 2017 after she took off her head scarf and held it in the air while standing on a utility box on Enghelab (Revolution) Street in Tehran on December 27, 2017.

The authorities detained 29 women on similar charges the following year.

Women's dress has been heavily scrutinized in Iran since the 1979 revolution, when adherence to an Islamic dress code became compulsory.

The dress code dictates that women's hair and body must be covered in public.

Also on April 14, an Iranian appeals court upheld the 13-year prison sentence of a human rights lawyer who had been imprisoned after voicing support for antigovernment protesters, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Mohammad Najafi was sentenced in December 2018 for "conveying information to a hostile country" through interviews with foreign media, insulting the supreme leader, and publicly supporting opposition groups.

The same appeals court reduced the sentence of his associate, Ali Bagheri, from 12 years to five years.

Protests broke out in dozens of Iranian cities and towns in late 2017 and early 2018 over rising prices and other grievances.

With reporting by AP and IRNA
In previous protests since mid-February, opposition supporters have repeatedly tried to enter the government buildings and police have responded with tear gas and water cannons. (file photo)

At least five police officers and dozens of opposition activists were injured in clashes with police in the Albanian capital, as demonstrators called for the resignation of Prime Minister Edi Rama's government.

Thousands of people gathered along Tirana's main boulevard on April 13, with many holding anti-government posters. Some threw flares, firecrackers and other objects at a police cordon at the main entrance to the government building.

Police fired tear gas at demonstrators as they pushed against the cordon at the parliament building, and Interior Minister Aleksandar Lleshaj said in a post to Twitter that five police officers had been hospitalized.

Opposition leaders said at least 15 activists were being treated for various injuries.

The protests were called by the Democratic Party-led opposition, which accuses Socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama of being corrupt and having links to organized crime.

Rama has denied those allegations.

The Democratic leader, Lulzim Basha, has called for early elections, and urged supporters to keep up daily protests.

In previous protests since mid-February, opposition supporters have repeatedly tried to enter the government buildings and police have responded with tear gas and water cannons.

The United States and the European Union have warned the opposition against using or inciting violence and to hold talks with the ruling party.

Albania is hoping to get European Union approval to begin membership talks next month.

With reporting by AP and Balkan Insight

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