NCRI Women’s Committee Monthly Report – Dec 2015
During the last month of 2015, Rouhani’s government intensified public executions and carried out ruthless punishments such as stoning and persecution of women for issues such as not observing mandatory dress codes and for participating in human rights activities.
Particularly, the basic rights of female prisoners were incessantly violated by denying necessary medical care.
The economic crisis and widespread corruption in Iran has resulted in an increase in the number of homeless women. Instead of helping these women, government-organized attacks were carried out against them, as they were monitored and controlled by the police commander of Greater Tehran. Statistics showed an increase in restrictions imposed on women’s education, employment and social activities.
Despite all the oppressive measures, universities have become scenes of protests. Female college students, mainly studying in nursing, protested the inhumane policies of Rouhani’s Health Ministry and very significant gatherings were held this month.
Female political prisoners
Fatemeh Ziaie, a political prisoner, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, is being held in the Iranian regime’s prison (ward 209 of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison) despite her deteriorating health.
47-year-old Roya Saberi-Nejad Nobakht has suffered from three nervous breakdowns but has not received proper medical care and was left unconscious after the staff at Evin prison’s dispensary gave her the wrong medication.
Three female prisoners on death row, currently detained in Zahedan Central Prison by the names of Bushra Araie, Fatemeh and Fahimeh are deprived of even the most basic necessities and are known to be “forgotten detainees”.
Azam Najafi, currently detained in Varamin’s Qarchak prison near Tehran, went on hunger strike in December protesting mistreatment by prison authorities.
She opposes the death sentence issued for activist Mohammad Ali Taheri. She was severely beaten and seriously wounded by security agents during her arrest.
Executions, Inhumane treatment and cruel punishments
On 6 December, a female prisoner was executed in the city of Qazvin. State-run sources stated her identity as F. Zanjanian, who had also received 99 lashes before execution, according to Qazvin’s Public Prosecutor.
On 10 December, a court in Siahkal, northern Iran, convicted a man and a woman for murder and adultery. In addition to prison time and other sentences, the female (identified as A. Kh) was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. According to state sources even if stoning is ruled out for the woman, she should be executed by other means.
Acid attacks targeting young women also continued to the end of the year.
Continuous abuse of basic human rights and freedoms
Crackdown on women under the pretext of improper clothing and violations of mandatory hijab regulations continued in the month of December.
Khamenei’s representative in East Azerbaijan’s Payam-e Nour University stipulated the necessity to establish a “Special Hijab Command Headquarters” in Iran! He also emphasized on banning all mixed-sex ceremonies. Also, Khamenei’s representative in Tabriz asked for gender segregation on campus in order to promote hijab regulations.
In Gatchsaran, a police commander reported of a plan to confront improper veiling. 7,000 vehicles were impounded at the first stage, in an attempt to show the force of the police. The head of Lorestan’s general courts stipulated that firm measures and judiciary actions would await women who do not obey with dress codes.
“Those who appear in public without sharia hijab will be sentenced from 10 days to 2 months in jail, or receive a financial fine,” Delfan announced. Greater Tehran traffic police chief also referred to statistics of over 8 months of firm action against improper veiling, where more than 40,000 vehicles were impounded for hijab offenses.
Repressive plans against women are not limited to the streets. In the month of December “Ski Police” was a new unit added to ski slopes to place these areas also under their control. Greater Tehran’s police chief Sajedi-Nia, announced action against women with improper veiling and improper clothing, as the main objective of the police force!
Gender segregation was another aspect of crackdown and social restrictions imposed on women in December. Rouhani’s Minister of Sciences warned universities against holding mixed gatherings. The public prosecutor of Bidgol in Isfahan announced that mixed-sex tours would be banned from entering touristic areas. Traffic police in Na’een stopped a tour bus for having both male and female passengers.
Rounding up homeless women was another act of violence against women this month. Homeless women were attacked and arrested by repressive police forces and transferred to unknown locations. According to the state-run news outlets, Greater Tehran police chief Sajedi-Nia personally supervised the operations.
Zahedan’s deputy in the regime’s parliament reported that 156,000 girls in Sistan and Baluchistan Province have been deprived of education.
According to reports, illiteracy conditions among women and girls in Iran are alarming, and 40 Iranian cities are in critical conditions. Sistan and Baluchistan Province with its 11 cities is ranked first in the country in illiteracy of girls.
On women’s economic participation, the state-run IRNA news agency confirmed “single digit” numbers. “According to the figures released by Iran’s Statistics Center, the ratio of economic participation for women aged 15 to 24 in 22 provinces across the country is in single digits. According to the statistics, unemployment among young women last year surpassed 40%. In other words, half of the country’s population in the employment age is headed back to their homes,” the report read in part.
Oppression of religious and ethnic minorities
Delaram Sadeghzadeh, a very gifted college student was banned from continuing her graduate studies in psychology solely for being Baha’i. This was announced to her by an official letter from Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.
Mrs. Parvaneh Rahmani, the wife of a detained Baha’i, was arrested in Sanandaj and is currently being held behind bars. The reason for her detention is unknown.
Protests by female students
Students protested unfair policies imposed by the Health Ministry of Hassan Rouhani’s government in the month of December. Nursing students in Neyshabour Medical School, Tabriz University, Aligoudarz Nursing Society, Beheshti Medical School in Tehran, Isfahan Medical School’s Nursing College and Kerman Medical School, held rallies and meetings protesting Health Ministry’s policies. Their demand was reversal of the plan to train nurses in hospitals.
Students of Isfahan’s Medical School formed a human chain along with their professors and protested the Health Ministry statement. According to the statement, nurses’ training would have been provided by hospitals. The students said their future was unclear and there would no longer be any motivation to enter this field and continue their studies.
Najaf Abad in Isfahan was another site witnessing protests staged by nurses. Students of Najaf Abad Medical School signed a collective petition and demanded the Health Ministry to revoke its plan.
These protests succeeded in their goal of reversing the Health Ministry plan and forcing the ministry to retreat from its proposed plan.