NewsSpecial WireAmnesty: Iran repressing women’s rights activists

Amnesty: Iran repressing women’s rights activists

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Iran Focus: London, Feb. 28 – A prominent international human rights organisation accused Iran on Thursday of “detaining” and “harassing” activists “working to defend women’s rights”. Iran Focus

London, Feb. 28 – A prominent international human rights organisation accused Iran on Thursday of “detaining” and “harassing” activists “working to defend women’s rights”.

“The Iranian authorities are continuing to harass activists working to defend women’s rights”, said Amnesty International in a report. It cited the cases of Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi – two Kurdish Iranian activists – who “currently remain detained without charge or trial”. They were arrested in October and November 2007 for peacefully exercising their rights, Amnesty said.

“Women in Iran face far-reaching discrimination under the law. They are denied equal rights in marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Evidence given by a woman in court is considered only worth half that given by a man. A girl under the age of 13 can be forced to marry a much older man if her father permits it”, the report said.

“With the increase in women’s literacy in the last 30 years and the large number of women students at university, women are increasingly empowered to challenge discrimination”, Amnesty said, adding, “But their efforts are viewed with suspicion by the authorities, who have launched a campaign of intimidation and repression against them”.

“Although the obstacles are many, activists are still willing to risk their safety to bring about a fundamental change in how the Iranian authorities treat Iran’s women”, it said.

Amnesty called on Tehran to take urgent steps to “dismantle discriminatory legislation” and “release imprisoned women’s rights defenders and stop detaining and harassing those peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly”.

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