Middle East

Iran fashion workers jailed for 'spreading prostitution'

Headscarves are displayed on mannequins at an Islamic fashion exhibit in central Tehran on 18 December 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The covering of hair in public has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1979

Twelve people involved in the fashion industry in Iran are reported to have been jailed for "spreading prostitution" via images posted online.

The eight women and four men were handed sentences of between five months and six years by a court in Shiraz, a lawyer told the Ilna news agency.

They were also banned from working in fashion and travelling abroad for two years afterwards, Mahmoud Taravat said.

He added that his clients had denied the charges and planned to appeal.

The 12 were convicted of charges including spreading prostitution and promoting corruption via the publication of obscene images online, inciting Muslims to corrupt themselves through putting on fashion shows, and spreading a "Western-style culture of nudity".

They were not named by Mr Taravat in his interview with Ilna.

But he said they included a man given a six-year sentence and banned from working in journalism or government service for two years following his release; a woman and a man jailed for five years and banned from working in fashion design; and a man jailed for two years and banned from working in photography.

Iran's judiciary launched a crackdown on "un-Islamic" behaviour by fashion models earlier this year.

In May, the prosecutor of Tehran's cybercrimes court announced the arrest of eight people involved in posting photographs of women without headscarves on social media. Iranian law requires that all women cover their hair in public.

They were among 170 models, photographers, make-up artists, salon managers and designers identified as being involved in online modelling.

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