A recent revelation by satirical cartoonist Atena Farghadani that she was forced to undergo a “virginity and pregnancy test”, prior to her trial for a charge of “illegitimate sexual relations” for shaking hands with her lawyer,
has added another stain on Iran’s shameful record of violence against women, Amnesty International said today.
In a note written by Atena Farghadani leaked from prison, which has been seen by Amnesty International, she says the judicial authorities took her to a medical center outside the prison on 12 August 2015 and forced her to submit to the tests, purportedly with the purpose of investigating the charge against her.
“It is shocking that on top of imposing a ludicrous charge on Atena Farghadani for the ‘crime’ of shaking hands with her lawyer, the Iranian authorities have forced her to undergo a ‘virginity and pregnancy test’,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Coerced “virginity testing” is internationally recognized as a form of violence and discrimination against women and girls… “The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Atena Farghdani, who is a prisoner of conscience. Whilst in custody, she must be protected from any further ill-treatment or reprisals, including pressure to retract her complaint. An independent and impartial investigation has to be urgently conducted into the alleged torture and ill-treatment suffered by Atena Farghadani and those responsible brought to justice,” said Said Boumedouha.
(Amnesty International- October 09, 2015))