March/April 2005


March 8th, International Woman's Day

Demonstration on March 8th, International Woman's Day

Time: 8 Esfand, 1383

Place: Laleh Park, Tehran

International Symposium March 8: Eliminating Violence Against Women in Muslim Societies

International Symposium

Leading to Change:
Eliminating Violence Against Women in Muslim Societies

Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP)
with the support of the
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Kuwait to discuss women's votes

The Kuwaiti parliament is to debate a bill to grant women full political rights, a Kuwaiti minister has said.
Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Sharar said that legislators would discuss the bill in March.

Young in the Arab World: Bahrain

A tiny island state in the gulf, Bahrain has a buzzing club scene and alcohol is allowed. But how free do young people feel in the capital Manama, and what future they see for themselves?

Ellen MacArthur, Britain's newest world record holder

Dame Ellen, originally from Derbyshire, but now living in Cowes, Isle of Wight, crossed the finishing line off Ushant, France, at 10.29pm on Monday after 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds at sea - trimming more than 32 hours off Joyon's time.

Ebadi Seeks Iran Solitary Confinement Ban

Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi Monday asked the Iranian judiciary to ban solitary confinement, calling it "illegal" both domestically and internationally. "I announce to the world that solitary confinement is (still) in use in Iran. I ask judicial officials to abolish the cells," the human rights activist said in a news conference after holding a seminar on the issue.

Ebadi, who is a lawyer, said holding prisoners in solitary confinement was psychological torture. Although it was illegal under domestic and international laws, it was still forced on pro-democracy activists in Iran, she added. Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. She was the first Iranian and Muslim woman to receive the honor. On Sunday, Ebadi refused to appear in a hard-line revolutionary court that had ordered her to attend or face arrest on an unspecified charge. Ebadi was jailed for 25 days in 2000 after she defended the family of a victim of a police and hard-line vigilantes raid on a Tehran University dormitory the year before. She later co-founded the Center for Protecting Human Rights.

Iran backtracks on women election candidates

A ban on women standing in Iranian presidential elections in June remains in force, a constitutional watchdog body said Saturday, rejecting earlier reports in the official media that the ban had been lifted. Guardians Council spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said there had been no change in the watchdog's interpretation of a key word in the Islamic republic's constitution that has long been taken as referring to men only.

"My comments regarding the Guardians Council and the word rejal have not changed and there is nothing new," Elham told the official IRNA news agency. As late as Saturday evening, Iranian state television's English-language service had been reporting that the Guardians had decided to lift the ban. The disputed word, which comes from Arabic, could also be interpreted as meaning "personalities" in Persian and this is the translation used in some English translations of the

Iranian woman released after 7 years on death row for police chief's murder

- An Iranian murderess who spent seven years on death row returned home Thursday to a tearful reception after a charity organization paid the victim's family to secure her freedom.
Afsaneh Nowrouzi was sentenced to death in 2001 for murdering Behzad Moghaddam, a police chief, and sexually mutilating his body after he tried to rape her.

The death sentence raised an outcry from women's activists and drew the attention of international groups who sought to overturn the verdict. Nowrouzi, 34, arrived at Tehran airport accompanied by her husband and was received by about 20 relatives, many of them in tears. In a gesture of celebration, family members distributed sweets and candy. Nowrouzi was released from prison in Kish island on Wednesday after an Iranian charity organization paid the equivalent of about $43,000 Cdn to the victim's family.

Under Islamic law, a victim's family can demand punishment or accept money in return for the convicted person's freedom. The victim's family had initially agreed to be paid $77,000 in return for Nowrouzi's freedom, but the charity organization persuaded them to decrease the amount. The organization paid the money after a fundraising campaign. Nowrouzi killed Moghaddam in 1997. She also cut off her assailant's penis and placed it on his chest, a rarely reported event in this conservative country where even talking about sex is taboo.

The Islamic court rejected her claim of self-defence and issued a death sentence after convicting her of murder. She was in prison until Wednesday. Activists used the case to highlight the difficulties that Iranian women encounter when pursuing justice against rapists. Unless a woman has very strong evidence, it is very difficult to prove she was raped in Iranian courts and sometimes a woman can instead be charged with adultery or illicit sex, which can carry the death penalty. Iran's Supreme Court initially upheld Nowrouzi's death sentence, but last year, under intense international pressure, judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi ordered a stay of the verdict.
The Supreme Court took a second look at the case and overturned the death sentence. It ordered a new ruling from the Kish court, after which Moghaddam's family accepted the money.

First Iranian Women Gear Up For "Mount Everest"
Sent by: Talieh Shahrokhi

Iran's national woman mountaineering team started Thursday the first stage of preparatory camp for reaching the Everest peak to be the first Iranian women group to scale up to the highest altitude in the world.

The two-day camp was held in Kelardasht, in the heights of Alam Kouh, north of Iran.

Iran's national woman mountaineering team will set out to Himalya region to conquer the 8848-meter Everest mountain late on this year.

(From all of us at "Persian Journal", wish them the "Best")

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