If you’ve lived in the same country your entire life, it can be easy to forget that not all countries abide by the same laws. But laws differ from country to country for lots of different reasons. While some laws are shaped by a county’s history and its politics, some are shaped by a country’s culture and religion. The laws in some countries, however, are so strict that it’s hard to accept that they’re even real. From laws that make chewing gum illegal to death sentences for protesting, here are some countries that have the strictest laws in the world. The U.S. student who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea will make you cry.
In Iran, laws are not based on philosophical beliefs but instead are structured around Shariah or Islamic Law. Because of this, there are many laws that have been put in place that make Iran an extremely patriarchal society. The country is very conservative and women, in particular, must adhere to a somewhat strict dress code. For example, women must wear hijabs at all times to cover their hair, skinny jeans are forbidden, and coats or tunics are expected to cover your rear end.
In Iran, a woman’s testimony is only worth half that of a man since it is in compliance with the Sharia basis of the legal system. This was seen in October 2014 when Reyhaneh Jabari was hanged at the age of 26 for stabbing her would-be rapist. The government refused to investigate her claims that she acted in self-defense and was sentenced to death.