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Shaparak Shajarizadeh said in a live broadcast shared widely on social media that she was sentenced to prison for opposing the compulsory hijab in Iran.

An Iranian woman who peacefully protested the obligatory hijab rule by removing her head scarf in public in Tehran in December says she has been sentenced to two years in prison in addition to an 18-year suspended prison term.

Shaparak Shajarizadeh also says she has left Iran to escape "injustices."

In a live broadcast shared widely on social media this week, Shajarizadeh said that she was sentenced to prison for opposing the compulsory hijab.

"This means that I will have to be silent for 20 years and not get involved in any activities," Shajarizadeh said on Instagram.

Prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who represented Shajarizadeh and other women arrested for opposing the compulsory hijab was arrested last month.

Shajarizadeh, 42, was released on bail in late April.

In a video posted online on July 9, she said she has left Iran.

"Due to the injustices in Iran's judicial system, I had to leave the country," she said.

Iranians Stand Up Against Hijab
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Earlier this year, Iranian authorities announced they had detained 29 women who removed their head scarves as part of a campaign against the country's mandatory Islamic dress code.

Police claimed the women had been "tricked" into removing their veil by a propaganda campaign being conducted by Iranians living abroad.

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.

Morality police launch regular crackdowns on those who are not fully respecting rules relating to the hijab.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Farda and AP
Dzmitry Halko came to the courtroom wearing a black short-sleeve shirt adorned with traditional Belarusian-Ukrainian embroidery patterns.

MINSK -- A Belarusian journalist known for his reports on the war in eastern Ukraine, where he was held by Russia-backed separatists in 2014, is being tried on a charge of assaulting a police officer.

Dzmitry Halko's trial began on July 10 at a court in Minsk.

Halko was arrested in April when entering Belarus from Ukraine, where he had been living for a few months.

Investigators say that Halko assaulted a police officer in December, breaking his mobile phone, when the officer came to his apartment in Minsk after neighbors complained about loud noises.

Halko denies the allegation, saying he did not assault the officer.

Halko, 38, came to the courtroom wearing a black short-sleeve shirt adorned with traditional Belarusian-Ukrainian embroidery patterns. The "vyshyvanka" has become a symbol of patriotism and resistance to Russia in Ukraine.

Halko is known for articles he wrote for a number of independent media outlets in Belarus and Ukraine.

After Russia seized control of Crimea and fomented separatism in the Donbas in 2014, Halko traveled to Ukraine and covered the conflict between Russia-backed separatists and government forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk region.

He was held for a time by the separatists and released later the same year.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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