Report on the Situation of Women in Iran for International Women’s Day

Iran is a country in which women’s rights are severely restricted. Women continue to face numerous challenges and obstacles, and despite the advances made in recent years, women in Iran are still struggling to achieve equality and basic rights. The following statistical information highlights the current situation of women in Iran, which is alarming.

In the reporting period (March 2022 – March 2023), 327 women were arrested for reasons directly related to the suppression of women’s rights. These arrests indicate that the government is cracking down on women’s rights activists and those advocating for gender equality. The arrests serve as a warning to others who may wish to speak out against the oppression of women.

During the protests from Sep 2022 to Mar 2023, at least 3,953 women were arrested, of which 1,019 were identified by Hrana,160 of them were female university students. It is estimated that at least 66 women were killed in Iran during the protests. These numbers show that women are not only being targeted for their activism, but also for their participation in peaceful protests. The arbitrary arrests and detentions of women demonstrate that the government is willing to use excessive force to silence dissent.

In the same period, at least 2,003 women were reprimanded in different ways, including being summoned to police authorities, due to the improper wearing of the hijab. The mandatory hijab law in Iran is a clear violation of women’s rights and freedom of expression. The fact that women are being punished for not adhering to the hijab law indicates that the government is imposing its religious beliefs on its citizens.

At least 15 women and 7 men were killed for “honor” reasons. “Honor” killings are a brutal practice in which women are murdered by their family members for bringing “dishonor” to their family. This practice is not only a violation of women’s rights, but the practice also serves as a grave violation of human rights and the right to life.

In this period, at least 14 female death-row inmates were executed in different prisons and two women received the death penalty.

In the reporting period, 92 cases of closure of guilds and organizations have been reported due to non-observance of hijab by the owner or staff. In this case, 62 reports of discrimination in social environments were reported due to women’s gender. The closure of businesses and organizations due to non-observance of hijab laws is not only discriminatory but also negatively impacts the economic opportunities available to women.

In the same period, 38 cases involving the murder of women and 14 cases of a severe beating, which were rooted in domestic violence, were reported. Domestic violence against women is a pervasive issue in Iran, and it is often considered a private matter. The lack of laws to protect women from domestic violence means that women are vulnerable to abuse and violence from their partners or family members.

At least 12 cases of suicide, 4 of which were self-immolation, were reported due to the lack of guaranteeing equal laws by the government. Things like the difficulty of divorce by women or loss of custody of children were among these reasons. The lack of legal protections for women in Iran makes it difficult for them to escape abusive situations, and the consequences can be fatal.

During the time period covered by this report, poisonous substances were used in organized attacks on schools, which primarily targeted girls’ schools. Since the beginning of December 2022, at least 290 attacks on schools affecting at least 7,060 students have been reported. This number of affected students is exclusive to the 103 schools that have reported data in this regard.

These attacks have been documented in at least 99 cities across 28 provinces. The day with the highest number of recorded attacks was March 3, with 81 attacks.

At the forefront of these attacks are the provinces of Tehran with 33 cases, Qom with 28 cases, Ardabil with 26 cases, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province with 21 cases, and Khuzestan province with 20 cases. As of the time this report was compiled, below is a map depicting the distribution of these attacks.

student-poisoning-distribution-map

In conclusion, the situation of women in Iran is dire. It is of note that this report serves as a mere glimpse into the dire situation of women in Iran. Several factors prevent documentation groups from analyzing the full scope of violations committed against women in Iranian society. Urgent action is required to address the issues faced by women in Iran on a daily basis rooted solely in gender-based discrimination codified in both law and practice. The government must take concrete steps to protect women’s rights, end discriminatory laws and practices, and ensure that perpetrators of violence against women are brought to justice. On this International Women’s Day, we must continue to raise awareness of the struggles faced by women in Iran and advocate for their rights and equality.

17 Year Old Woman Beheaded by Her Husband

On February 5, 17 year old Mona Heydari was killed and beheaded by her husband in Ahvaz City. A video circulated on social media shows the man walking around the street with his wife’s head in his hand. Reportedly, the murderer saw it as an honor killing. These horrific pictures brought about a wave of criticism on social media regarding the regime and the Islamic Penal Code, arguing they encourage honor killings by exempting the murderer from severe punishment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting ROKNA, around 3 PM in Kasai Square, Ahvaz City, the murderer showed up with his wife’s head in his hand for a minute and then left. When the incident was reported, police, along with homicide detectives, went to the spot and began the investigation.

Further investigation showed that after running away to Turkey, Heydari had been recently brought back by her husband to Iran, where she was then killed by her husband and brother-in-law. Reportedly, both men have been arrested by police.

On Sunday, one day after reporting this news, ROKNA news agency was closed down by authorities, apparently due to the report.

Honor killing or “shame killing” is the murder of an individual, mostly girls and women, by her family members or relatives for an act— such as adultery, divorce, avoiding forced marriage— that religiously or traditionally is deemed dishonorable or shameful. The Islamic Penal Code of Iran exempts the perpetrator from severe punishment.

Journalist Sina Ghalandari Sentenced to 27 Months Imprisonment for Publicizing Killing of 14-Year-Old Mobina Souri

Recently, journalist Gholam-Hossein (Sina) Ghalandari was sentenced to 27 months in prison and a two year ban from journalistic work after publicizing the “honor killing” of 14-year-old Mobina Souri.

Grounded on Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, from this sentence, a severest punishment of 13 months and 16 days is enforceable.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 102 of the Criminal Court of Kuhdasht City sentenced Sina Ghalandari, in absentia, to 13 months and 16 days on a charge of “spreading lies”. Moreover, he was sentenced to 13 months and 16 days and a two year ban from working as a journalist on a charge of “invasion of privacy by publishing private images”.

Sina Ghalandari reported on the murder of Mobina Souri, a 14-year-old girl who was murdered by her husband after being suspected of having an affair. Mobina was a victim of a child marriage and was married to the young cleric in her village who ultimately killed her. The other suspects were released after the husband confessed.

In September, Ghalandari was arrested by the order of the District Prosecutor following complaints from Mobina’s family. He was released on September 18, 2021, after spending 11 days in detention.

“I published the news and three hours later, Rokna published incorrect news about that,” commented Ghalandari about his arrest. “Thereafter, FATA Police raided my relatives’ house while I was staying there as a guest. They treated me and my relatives badly. The prosecutor rebuked me and told me that I should not have published the news. He asked his assistant to punish me severely so that I never publish such news anymore.”

Sina Ghalandar is a resident of Kuhdasht and runs a Telegram channel named “Lorestan Telegram Radio”.

Young Woman Burned to Death by Father in what Islamic Penal Code Deems “Honor Killing”

Early on Sunday, October 3,  news spread on social media of a young woman who was burned to death by her father in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan Province.

HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, has identified the victim as 22-year-old Faezeh Maleki, who had been living in Dolat-Abad (Kurkureh), a village in Sanandaj county.

Reportedly, after she passed away in hospital, her father was beaten by some people, which led to the arrest of some of these attackers.

“Faezeh Maleki got divorced shortly after her marriage,” an informed source told HRANA. “Thereafter, she wanted to marry a young man but his parent disagreed with this marriage. Once some pictures showing the continuation of their relationship came into the hands of her father, he punished his daughter by burning her with gasoline.”

In a post on social media, the victim’s surgeon announced her death and mentioned having a boyfriend as the reason why his father committed this crime. He said that her father is still free. Thereafter, his post was taken down for unknown reasons.

“They send her to hospital but medical team could not save her life and she passed away from severe injuries,” the source added. “Some furious citizens beat her father, who is drug-addicted, in Eghbal Square in Sanandaj. Police detained the father and some of these attackers.”

According to Islamic penal codes, the severity of a sentence in cases of homicide is in large part determined by the wishes of the “blood avenger”, or closest relation to the victim. If a father is convicted of killing his child, however, he can then act as his own “blood avenger”, which almost always results in a significantly lighter sentence.

Typically, a father convicted of killing his child be sentenced to “Weregild payment” and relatively short imprisonment. As case investigations have shown, this system has at times encouraged parents to commit such so-called “honor killing”, because they are aware of the sentence leniency that will be afforded to them if convicted.

Husband Confesses to Murder of 14-Year-Old Mobina Souri

Five days after news broke of the death of 14-year-old Mobina Souri, her husband confessed to having committed the murder. Souri is the victim of  what is classified under Islamic Law as an “honor killing”.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, “honor crimes” or “honor killings” are acts of assault or murder, usually towards women and usually committed by male relatives.

Under Islamic Law, in murder cases where the (usually-female) victim has been accused of “disgracing the family’s honor”, exemptions and sentence reductions are frequently granted to the murderers.

The scope of the ways “disgracing family honor” can be defined is extremely broad; women and girls can be accused for being victims of rape, getting a divorce (even from an abusive husband), committing adultery, or being suspected of having sexual relations before marriage.

14-year-old Mobina was also a victim of child marriage and was married to the young cleric in her village who ultimately killed her. The other suspects were released after the husband confessed.

 

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14-Year-Old Mobina Murdered in Lorestan in what Islamic Penal Code Classifies as “Honor Killing”

On Monday, August 30, 14-year-old Mobina, who was from the Suri area of Lorestan Province was murdered by a family member in what is classified under Islamic Law as an “honor killing”.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Rokna, Mobina was the victim of a child marriage who was married to a young cleric in her village. She was murdered after relatives presumed she had an affair.

Under Islamic Law, in murder cases where the (usually-female) victim has been accused of  “disgracing the family’s honor”, exemptions and sentence reductions are frequently granted to the murderers.

“The murder happened due to family disputes, and the accused has been identified and arrested,” said the Lorestan police chief. “He is one of the relatives of the victim.”

“Honor crimes” or “honor killings” are acts of assault or murder, usually towards women and usually committed by male relatives.

The scope of the ways “disgracing family honor” can be defined is extremely broad; women can be accused for being victims of rape, getting a divorce (even from an abusive husband), committing adultery, or even just having sexual relations before marriage.