Saturday, 20 May 2006

This is outrageous

Save Nazanin

OK, I would usually be very reluctant to take two things from the one blog in one day, but I felt compelled to mention this issue:

Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, an 18-year old girl, has been sentenced to death by hanging in Iran. Nazanin's "crime" was killing a man who ambushed and tried to rape her and her neice.
According to the Iranian daily Etemaad, then 17-year-old Nazanin and her niece had been spending some time in a park west of Tehran with their boyfriends, when three men started harassing them.

The girls` boyfriends fled from the scene, leaving them helpless behind. The men pushed Nazanin and her niece down on the ground and tried to rape them, and to protect herself, she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand.

The girls tried to escape, but the men overtook them, and at this point, Nazanin stabbed one of the other men in the chest, which eventually killed him. According to the newspaper, she broke down in tears when she told the court: "I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help." Nevertheless, the court sentenced her to death by hanging.

In a western country Nazanin would probably be acquitted or at most receive a short prison sentence, as the murder was obviously committed in self-defense. Furthermore, since she was only 17 years old, she would be treated as a minor. In Iran however, the minimum age for the death penalty is 15 years for males, and 9, yes nine years for females. Although there is no record of girls that young being executed, the fact that the law opens for this speaks clearly about what kind regime Iran is.

Another point worth noticing, is that if Nazanin had let the men rape her, she could in the worst case have been arrested for extra-martial sex, which carries a maximum penalty of 100 lashes.

People are being asked to raise awareness about Nazanin in anyway they can. Suggestions include:
  • Write about Nazanin in your own blog.
  • Contact newspapers, TV-channels, blogs and other media and ask them to report her story.
  • Put a link to this page in your email signature or on your blog.
  • Put one of these banners on your website.
  • Write the Iranian government or the Iranian embassy of your country , and demand that Nazanin`s death sentence is commuted immediately. Read more
  • Contact politicians/representatives and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country and ask them to pressure Iran to commute the death sentence and free Nazanin.
  • Contact the United Nations Office of Human Rights on this email-address and ask them to protest. [You can also contact them via this page.]
  • Sign and spread this petition.

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