Iran

Britain has called on Iran to launch an immediate investigation into the death of Haleh Sahabi, the daughter of a veteran Iranian dissident who died during scuffles with security forces at her father's funeral on Wednesday. Sahabi was leading the procession at the ceremony by holding a picture of her father, Ezatollah Sahab. She died from a heart attack after reportedly being attacked by an agent and falling down.

This report speaks to the Iranian governments failure to prevent discrimination and human rights abuses against its Kurdish citizens, especially women. The report says that Kurdish women face a double challenge to have their rights recognised – as members of a marginalised ethnic minority, and as women in a predominantly patriarchal society. Strict social codes are used to justify denial of their human rights.

Amnesty International uses a primarily human rights based framework to detail theissue of stoning in Iran as well as the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign. Amnesty International calls on the Iranian government to abolish immediately and totally executions by stoning and to impose a moratorium on the death penalty pending the repeal or amendment of the Penal Code. All existing sentences of execution by stoning should be commuted.

This article was written shortly after the stoning of Jafar Kiani in the summer of 2007. Abbagholizadeh gives a very useful analysis on the history of the development of stoning in Iran after the 1979 Revolution and the changing opinions on stoning from religious experts and politicians during that time. Abbasgholizdeh argues that there has never been a consensus amongst government officials or religious leaders concerning stoning.

This (15 page) paper examines three Muslim contexts (Iran, Afghanistan, and Alergia) to show how ‘the woman question’ figured predominantly in Islamist discourses and legal frames, and how these discourses and laws led not only to social and sexual control over women but also to physical violence and death.  Moghadam situates the sources of such violence in the legacy of “heroic masculinity”, the unveiling of women in the context of changes in the gender regime and cultural practices, economic and political difficulties, and international factors.

Ayatollah Shirazi is originally from Shiraz, Iran and has penned dozens of books on the improvement of morals, fiqh and the exegesis of Quran. Shirazi writes on the “great” sins, of which adultery is one, but offers some specifically Shia commentary. While he condones stoning, his opinion stresses the near impossibility of proving adultery by witness and the lack of compulsion in confession. Here he also seems to oppose the “Judges’ Knowledge: “It is not permitted for the Judge to goad the accused to confess.

Radio Farda, an American-based Persian-language radio program, interviewed the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri on his opinions about the practice of stoning, and specifically whether the sentence of stoning can be vacated and replaced by another punishment. He responded as follows:

On Wednesday 11 May 2011, Iranian security forces arrested Maryam Bahreman, an Iranian women’s rights and civil society activist in Shiraz. Bahreman is a founding member, and was the general secretary, of the Association of Women of Pars (Anjome Zanan Pars), which was established in 2003. As a member of this association, she was active in many women's movement activities including the One Million Signature Campaign. Bahreman was also a participant at the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference in New York in March of this year, where she was on a panel about women and ICT. 

Justice for Iran (JFI) commends the decision of the European Union (EU), as announced this month, to sanction 32 Iranian state officials complicit in or responsible for human rights abuses in Iran.  The council decision published in the official Journal of the European Union obliges the 27 Member States of the EU to enforce travel bans and asset freezes against a list of judges, law enforcement officials and commanders in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.  It also calls upon third States, outside the European Union, to adopt similar restrictive measures.  

PEN American Center today named Nasrin Sotoudeh, a writer, lawyer, and leader of the women’s and children’s rights movement in Iran, as the recipient of its 2011 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Sotoudeh was arrested on September 4, 2010, and is now serving an 11-year sentence for her outspoken advocacy in defense of her clients arrested after the June 2009 presidential elections and interviews she gave to human rights organizations and media about their cases.

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