Twelve Iran fashion workers jailed for 'spreading prostitution'

The covering of hair in public has been compulsory for women in Iran since 1979. Eight women and four other men working with the fashion industry in Iran have been arrested and are reported to have been jailed for "spreading prostitution" using images posted online.

According to a lawyer, Mahmoud Taravat who spoke to Ila news agency, he said: "The 12 people were handed sentences of between five months and six years by a court in Shiraz, over 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".

Names not mentioned by Mr Taravat during interview with Ilna. They were 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.

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.

The prosecutor of Tehran's cybercrimes court announced the arrest of eight people in May, involved in posting photographs of women without headscarves on social media, and Iranian law therefore 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.