December 15, 2004 VOLUME 7


To our readers,

As the year 2004 is coming to an end, there are at least two women facing stoning in Iran and 10 teenagers facing executions by various means. Among the victims is a 19 year old mentally disabled girl, Leyla, who was forced into prostitution by her mother. Leyla has been sentenced to be flogged and executed for 'morality-related' offences.

Violence against women in Iran does not end in the mullahs courts. There are at least 4000 run away girls and homeless women in Tehran every night. These women are not only victims of poverty but also victim of physical and sexual violence. Women and girls are being traded for sex or body parts everyday in Iran. Yet a female puppet in mullahs’ parliament has the audacity to issue a death sentence for these homeless women and girls because the fundamentalists believe “women have no value without their families”.

 Iran spends millions of dollars every year on its nuclear technology at the cost of trampling the basic human rights and needs of Iranians, particularly women and girls. Europeans are talking to the mullahs everyday, yet the issue of violence against women is never on their agenda. There is a state-sponsored of violence against women in Iran and the world community is standing by in silence. Even those women who flee Iran have no hope. Female asylum seekers from Canada, Sweden and Australia are extradited back to Iran on daily basis because the West is not recognizing the plight of Iranian women.

Instead, in 2003, Nobel Peace Committee offered the women of Iran a token of hope by selecting Shirin Ebadi as the prize winner. Women of Iran see no value in such tokens and hollow gestures. Those who believe women’s rights and human rights in Iran can be compromised are gravely mistaking. Any incentive offered to the fundamentalist regime of Iran will only encourage the mullahs and endanger women and girls further. The Iranian regime will end sooner or later, yet the Iranians will not forget those who stood by the mullahs while the most heinous crimes were committed against the people, particularly women.

WFAFI calls upon the freedom loving people of the world to join our 2005 campaign and stop violence against women in Iran. Democracy is the only solution for Iran. Join us to support the democratic aspiration of the Iranian people. Please visit our website for more information on our monthly actions alerts. http://www.wfafi.org/action.html

E-Zan Featured Headlines

Reuters News Agency – November 22, 2004

All three wives of a 67-year-old Iranian man took overdoses in an unsuccessful triple suicide attempt after the youngest wife bought an expensive pair of boots, a news agency reported on Sunday. "My two other wives were very jealous after my 27-year-old wife bought a pair of boots for $450," the husband was quoted as saying by the ISNA student news agency. "After they had an argument about the price, they all attempted suicide together," he added. All three women, now in stable condition in the hospital, have separate apartments and cars. Men in Iran, where Islamic law has been in force since 1979, can marry up to four wives…


Iran Focus – November 30, 2004

The Supreme Court of Iran has upheld a stoning sentence for a woman accused of adultery. Hajieh Esmailvand has been serving prison time in the town of Jolfa (Northwestern Iran) since Jan. 2000 for having an affair with a 17-year-old boy. Originally she had been sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and ‘death by hanging’; however the Supreme Court subsequently changed the verdict from ‘death by hanging’ to ‘death by stoning. One informed source told Iran Focus that the Supreme Court has ordered that the remainder of Hajieh’s prison sentence be annulled so that the stoning sentence can be carried out ‘before 21 December 2004’.The boy whom Hajieh had the affair with is also on death row awaiting official orders to be hanged in public. His identity has not been made clear. The Supreme Court has also upheld the death sentence for a 24-year-old woman called Najmeh Vosoogh Razavi who was studying law in university. Najmeh is to be hanged in public next week.At least four women have been hanged since Jan. 2004 with at least a dozen more sentenced to execution. On Nov. 20 a female member of Iran’s parliament (Majlis) was quoted by state-run newspapers as saying, “if 10 prostitutes were executed, there would be no more prostitutes on the streets”.


Reuters News Agency December 4, 2004

These days Iranian women are not even allowed to watch men compete on the football field, but 2,000 years ago they could have been carving the boys to pieces on the battlefield. DNA tests on the 2,000-year-old bones of a sword-wielding Iranian warrior have revealed the broad-framed skeleton belonged to woman, an archaeologist working in the northwestern city of Tabriz said on Saturday. "Despite earlier comments that the warrior was a man because of the metal sword, DNA tests showed the skeleton inside the tomb belonged to a female warrior"…


Global BC, Broadcast News December 9, 2004

An Iranian woman deported from Vancouver was arrested within minutes of her return to Tehran, but was released after spending many hours in detention. Haleh Sahba, 30, now faces charges of leaving Iran illegally. Sahba lived in the Vancouver area for three years after fleeing her home country, where she had been jailed for defending women's rights.  She told Immigration Canada that she feared for her life if she was forced to return to Iran, but was refused refugee status and deported on Tuesday (December 7, 2004).


Agence France Presse – December 11, 2004

An Iranian woman arrested in a judicial crackdown on reformist journalists was freed on bail but needed hospital treatment due to her detention, her husband told AFP on Saturday. According to Ahmad Beigloo, journalist Fereshteh Ghazi "was kept in solitary confinement for 38 days and had to be checked into hospital as she was not in a good physical or mental shape". The woman was arrested over her articles on women's rights published on Internet sites. She was released on bail of 500 million rials (about 57,000 dollars).


Radio Farda – December 11, 2004

Every night, in Tehran alone, about 4000 street girls and women roam the city while being subjected to physical or sexual violence. These women and girls are victims of violence and according to the official report the real numbers are not known. There have been numerous promises by the government to provide shelter and resources to these victims, yet none has been delivered. These women and girls fall in to sex trade business as pay back to anyone who provides them shelter and support. These women and girls are victim of poverty and have run away from home or abusive marriages.


Amnesty International – December 15, 2004

Iran plans to execute a mentally disabled 19-year-old woman for "acts contrary to chastity," alleged crimes stemming from her having been forced into prostitution as a child, Amnesty International says. Amnesty cited reports in the Iranian newspaper Khorasan that said social workers estimated the woman, identified only as Leyla M, had the mental capacity of an eight-year-old. Amnesty said a November 28 story in the newspaper reported that Leyla had been sentenced to death by a court in the central Iranian city of Arak when she was 18. Amnesty said the sentence had been passed to Iran's Supreme Court for confirmation. The group said Leyla had been convicted of "acts contrary to chastity," including controlling a brothel, having sex with relatives and giving birth outside marriage. It said she had confessed to the charges and was to be flogged before her execution. The group said Khorasan had reported Leyla had exhausted her appeals. Amnesty said Leyla's mother had forced her into prostitution when she was eight. It said the girl was raped repeatedly and gave birth to a baby when she was nine. She was sentenced to flogging at the time. Her family sold her to an Afghan man when she was 12, and his mother forced the girl to continue as a prostitute, Amnesty said. She gave birth to twins at age 14 and was again punished by flogging, the group said. Her family later sold her again, to a 55-year-old man, Amnesty said. Amnesty said that as a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Iran had promised not to execute anyone for crimes committed while they were under 18. The group said Iran had executed at least three child offenders in 2004. In addition, it said, a 14-year-old boy died on November 12 after being flogged for eating in public during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


E-Zan Featured Reports


Female Parliamentary Member insists on executing the “street women”

WFAFI Farsi News Monitoring

November 19-23, 2004

According to a report by state-run news agency ILNA, Eshrat Shayegh, the female parliamentary member (PM) of Tabriz, made an assertion about the rising rate of runaway girls and homeless women in the streets, an issue known as “street women”. She made her comments about the increased presence of “street women” suggesting:”if any judge argues we have no laws to deal with these women, I offer a solution myself.” She added: “If we execute 10 of these street women, we will no longer face this issue.” She emphasized, “Women have no value without their families…” Shayegh, the PM from Tabriz, added: “the 7th parliament has come to a house of disarray and full of problems” suggesting a much harsher treatment towards women. A government’s atternoy, Mr. Reeyahi, in an interview with Iran Newspaper replied to Shayegh’s comments by saying: “If these comments were made by someone else, we would not pay much attention to it. However, since she is speaking in the capacity of a parliamentary member who has legislative power, we should pay very close attention to her comments…we should be particularly worry about such comments now that it has been reflected in the press”…Comments by Eshrat Shayegh sparked such an outrage among women’s organizations inside and outside of Iran that she was forced to rephrase her statement while blaming the press for misquoting her. However, she still insisted that these women are at fault and should be “dealt with”.


Leyla, an 18 year old facing execution by stoning in Iran

Peykeiran Website

December 5, 2004

Website Zananeiran writes: “Execution of an 18 year old girl”; this is the title that most newspapers chose after Leyla, the 18 year old girl from Arak was sentenced to execution by the order of the 25th Judicial district. This sentence was issued without paying attention to Leyla’s mental disability or her family’s situation.  The 18 year old Leyla in her testimony in the court testified about her mom selling her body to different men so that their family could survive the poverty and hardship. Leyla naively described how her father and her brothers raped her constantly. Would Leyla so honestly and truthfully testify in the court of law had she known that they would issue her execution verdict because? Maybe unlike her family, she counted on the justice system to protect her? We are sure the readers of this piece have a lot of questions in mind to ask Leyla, her family, her lawyer and her judge. We talked very briefly with Leyla in her prison cell. This is only a brief chat and will not answer all your questions. But as advocates of women’s rights, you are at least confronted with the horrifying situation of this young girl whose body was sold and now she is being so unjustifiably denied the right to live because of that. What you will be reading might seem so simple and childish at the first glance but no one can deny the depth of this disaster. Our Zanan website is in the process of getting more information on this situation from the parties involved. A conversation with Leyla:

                - Do you know how old you are?    18 years old.

               - Are you aware of your execution sentence? I have been told about the execution but my friends in the prison tell me that it is not true and I will be freed soon. I think they just want to scare me. I have done nothing wrong. I have always listened to my mom. If she told me to go to some man’s house, I would go. If she said not to go, I wouldn’t.

                - Why did you always listen to what she said? I was scared. All of them would harass me if I did not listen to her.           

               - What did they do to you?  They would beat me up. Both my parents harassed me all the time.

               - When was the first time you slept with a man? I was eight years old the first time my mom took me to a man’s house. It was scary. I cried so much. She came and picked me up the next morning and bought me chocolate and cheese puffs.

               - Do you like your children? I love them so much. We used to play a lot of games before I came to prison.

               -  How many children do you have? I have two daughters and a son. They are so sweet.

               - Were you raising them by yourself? My mom took care of them for a little while. Then they lived with their father for some time. I don’t know where they are now.

               - What about your father, do you like him? He is very bad tempered. He always beat me up since I was a kid. I liked him whenever he both me something to eat.

               - Does your mother visit you here? Not at all; I have not seen her since I came to prison. Please tell her to bring me some chocolate and cheese curls in case you see her. I also want my red dress.


Iranian martyr recruits, man and woman, vow to attack Americans in Iraq and Israelis

The Associated Press

December 3, 2004

About 200 masked young men and women gathered at a Tehran cemetery Thursday to pledge their willingness to carry out suicide bomb attacks against Americans in Iraq and Israelis. The ceremony was organized by the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, a shadowy group that has since June been seeking volunteers for attacks in Iraq and Israel. A spokesman, Ali Mohammadi, described the group meeting Thursday as the “first suicide commando unit,” although another official has claimed members already have carried out attacks in Israel. “Sooner or later, we will bury all blasphemous occupiers of Islamic lands,” Mohammadi said. On Sunday, Iran’s deputy interior minister for security affairs told reporters the movement had no official sanction and said such groups could operate only “as long as their ideas are limited to theory.” But the group has the backing of some prominent hard-line Iranian politicians. Iran portrays Israel as its main nemesis and backs anti-Israeli groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Wives, husbands and children accompanied volunteers to the cemetery, which was decorated with posters denouncing America and Israel. Thursday’s ceremony included the unveiling of 6-foot stone column commemorating a 1983 attack on U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon as a major “suicide bombing operation against global blasphemy.” On Oct. 23, 1983, a truck carrying more than 2,000 pounds of explosives sped past a sentry post and exploded in the center of the barracks, killing 241 Marines. In 2003, a U.S. federal judge blamed Iran for the attack.


Mullahs’ Killing Fields

Frontpage Magazine

Dr. Donna Hughes, Professor & Carlson Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island.

December 14, 2004

A former political prisoner and the daughter of two slain parents vowed to make sure the voices of Iranians who have suffered under the Islamic fundamentalist regime heard. The two women said they stand by other activists who continue to be arrested, tortured, and executed in Iran for supporting freedom and democracy. On the occasion of International Human Rights Day (Friday, December 10), the torture and execution of political prisoners in Iran was the focus of a briefing in New York hosted by the non-governmental organization Women’s Freedom Forum. The treatment of women, especially women political activists, was featured. The walls of the room were lined with documentary posters with names and photographs of men, women, and children who had been killed by the mullahs in Iran. A number of the photographs were family groups – mother, father, and two, three, four, five, even six children ‑ that had been killed by the Iranian regime for their political activism. The program included videos and photographs of trials, lashings and executions over the past 25 years. Some images were from the early days of the revolution, some from the late 1980s, and one photograph showing the hanging of a group of seven men in Zahedan just three days before the event on December 7, 2004.The victims are hoisted into the air by a crane in a public place in order to terrorize the population and suppress further resistance to the regime. Another Iranian-American pro-democracy non-governmental organization ‑The Committee in Support of Referendum in Iran‑sends out news clippings on a regular basis that document the executions of men, women, and sometimes children, as the Iranian regime executes minors. There are often two or three pages of listings of sentences and executions. Their most recent report for November 2004 listed 15 executions or sentences for execution. A number of them are punishment for political activity against the regime inside and outside Iran. On November 10 a man in Tehran was sentenced to death for allegedly killing a Tehran district mayor. On November 21 a political prisoner was sentenced to death for allegedly bombing a government building in 1998. He is the brother of man known to belong to an opposition group who was killed earlier. The report speculated that issuing a death sentence six and a half years after an alleged crime was retaliation against the opposition group for revealing information on the regime’s clandestine atomic sites. On November 22 two men were sentenced to death for allegedly clashing with security forces. According to state run media in Iran, 120 people were hanged in public during a recent six-month period.

At the briefing, Farangis, a former political prisoner described her experience and treatment by Revolutionary Guards in three different prisons. She was born in 1959 in the southwestern Iranian city of Masjid Suleiman in Khuzistan province. She became a political activist after the revolution when she saw the nature of the regime that Khomeini was constructing. She now lives in the U.S. with her family.

In her own words:

In 1978, I was accepted to the Medical Sciences University in Ahwaz to study nursing. At the university, the students were pressured by Hezbollah to join their Islamic political movement. Within a year, the Shah was overthrown and Hezbollah called for a cultural revolution in support of the new Khomeini regime, which included a purge of students from the university who didn’t support Khomeini. A number of students were arrested. They were abused and a few were executed. All the universities were then closed. I retuned home where I joined a union with other students to inform people about the activities of the regime. At this time, my brother, who was 17 at the time, became politically active. He was later arrested in 1982, and within five months I was arrested also for political activity. During questioning, they tortured us to get information. When we would not answer their questions they said that since you are Muslims and you are not answering our questions you are subject to “tazir” –flogging. They lashed us 150 times with cables. When I was whipped, I felt the pain for the first few lashes, then after the 12th or 13th ones, my body would go numb. Eventually, I would faint or freeze so that I couldn’t move. Then they would throw me back in the cell. At night, they took us out of the cells and make us stand on one leg in the hall. When we got so tired we put my legs down, they lashed us. I fainted from this routine a couple of times. They kept us blindfolded when we were in the hall so we couldn’t see what was happening.

Several times, I felt something burning my hands. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but later I learned that they put their cigarettes out on us. You can still see the scars on my hands. [Farangis held up her hands to the audience.]They held a kangaroo court for the political prisoners. They placed a paper in front of me with 40 charges against me listed on it. I was forced to sign it. I was sentenced to four years in prison. The arrest of my brother and I placed a lot of pressure on my family. My father became physically and mentally ill. He eventually had a heart attack and died. In prison, when I heard about my father’s death, I was not allowed to cry. Later, when they put me in solitary confinement, I could cry. As a result of the physical treatment and mental stress, I became paralyzed in parts of my body. I couldn’t talk, eat, or take care of myself. My mother requested that I be taken to a hospital, but they wouldn’t do it. They released me from solitary confinement and put me back in a cell with other women. The other prisoners helped me to take care of myself and used physical therapy to help me regain the use of my body. Then some of us were moved to Evin prison in Tehran. The trip took 12 hours, and every few hours they would stop, take us out of the car, and beat us. When we arrived at Evin prison, we were beaten again. No one could stand up. In Evin prison we had to wear a blindfold when we were out of the cell. We were told that if the blindfold came off we would be executed. As result of not being able to see, I fell on the stairs and broke my arm.

I was taken to the prison clinic and treated by another prisoner. He said my arm needed surgery, but that was not permitted, so he set it as best he could and sent me back to my cell. You can see the difference in my two arms. [Farangis held up both arms for us to compare them. The right arm was visibly crooked.]  To this day, I can’t pick up anything that weighs much with this arm. After two or three months in Evin prison they moved us to Ghezel Hessar prison in Karaj, where I was placed in a cell with women as old as 60 or 70 and women with children aged one to four. One woman in her 60s couldn’t walk, so we helped her do everything. Babies and children up to the age of four were in prison with their mothers. They were often malnourished because the food was so bad. They suffered from the unsanitary conditions and often had fungus infections.

In 1985, with the promise of my mother to supervise me, they released me from prison. The first thing I did was go to see my father’s grave. I felt responsible for his death. I was depressed and wouldn’t talk to anyone. I just sat in the corner of the house. My mother took me to a psychiatrist to receive treatment. Five months later, I married an acquaintance and we moved to Shiraz. My husband is here with me today. [She pointed him out in the audience.] I had to present myself to the Revolutionary Guards’ office every week. This was hard for my husband. During this time, I saw that things had become very difficult for women. I saw women sell themselves on the street to buy milk for their children. And children dropped out of school to sell things on the street to earn money for their families. When I left prison, the Revolutionary Guards made me promise never to reveal anything that I knew, but I became angry at what I saw and became politically active again. I decided to tell people what I had seen in prison. I wanted to defend women in society against what was happening to them. The Guards found out about my activity so they raided our house and arrested me. I was seven months pregnant. When they took me for questioning, I could hear my husband outside yelling for them to release me because I was pregnant.

The second time I was imprisoned I received worse treatment. Every time I was questioned, I was kicked, whipped, and tortured. Because of the blows I received to my back, I gave birth to my baby early. My son was weak. They kept him in the hospital and sent me back to prison. I was suffering physically and mentally. I was still in pain from childbirth and then I was separated from my baby. Every day they took me to the hospital to feed him, and then took me back to prison. Finally, as result of efforts from my husband I was reunited with my son. At that time I was taken for questioning for 15 to 16 hours at a time. My son stayed with the Revolutionary Guards. When I got him back, his diaper had not been changed and his skin became burned. He was always crying because he was hungry and not in good condition. As a result of how I was being treated, I didn’t always have milk. I am still being treated for a condition I developed at that time. I went to the judge and begged for more food for my son, but he said that my son was a criminal too, and predicted that when he grew up, he would be against the regime too, so it was right to treat him as a criminal now. In 1988, my husband got me out of prison by selling our house to raise enough money to pay the bribes that were needed. When they released me they told me that I couldn’t leave the country for 20 years.

If I was arrested again, they would execute me immediately without a trial. They said they would make my husband ask for me to be executed.  In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime executed thousands of political prisoners. [According to some estimates, 30,000 political prisoners were executed over a few month period.] My younger brother was one of the ones killed. [She pointed to a picture of him that she brought with her. The family resemblance was obvious.] In our small city, 30 people were executed each night. The whole community was in mourning, but they wouldn’t return the bodies to the families. They buried them in a mass grave. We were not permitted to mourn. No one could visit the families or talk about what happened. My brother had a four-year-old daughter. Every day, she asked me where her father was. I told her that he had gone to the sky and at night she looked into the sky trying to find her father. I’m here today to be the voice of all those in Iran who have suffered and been killed. I’m the voice of young people and children who grew up in prison. I am one of the victims of the regime. I lost my father and my brother to this regime. Every time I look at the picture of my brother, I say, “I won’t forget you.” I won’t let people forget what happened to him and many others. I know there are people who care. I know they care about human rights in Iran. I know they care about what is happening to people in Iran.

The event concluded with Hajar, an 18 year old woman, whose father, a medical student, was killed by the Iranian regime when she was two years old and whose mother was killed by the Iranian regime when she was eight years old, saying that although she was a student with exams next week, she needed to be at the event to make sure the voices of her parents are heard. She did not want them to die in vain. She ended by quoting the lyrics of song by Marzieh, one of the most famous singers from Iran, who supports the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

 If I take a stand

And you take a stand

Then everyone will stand with us

But if I sit and you sit

Who will stand?

We have to speak

And we have to speak of the pain

We need the world to know what is going on in Iran

That it is wrong and something needs to be done.

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Volume 7, November 15, 2004

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