Nobel laureate urges Iranians to protest ‘war against women’

Nobel laureate urges Iranians to protest ‘war against women’
Nobel laureate urges Iranians to protest ‘war against women’

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Narges Mohammadi urged Iranian women to share their stories of arrest and sexual assault at the hands of the authorities via her Instagram page. — Wana pic via Reuters

PARIS, April 22 — Jailed Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi urged Iranians to protest a “full-scale war against women” after authorities intensified a crackdown obliging women to obey the country’s Islamic dress code.

Mohammadi, who is held in Tehran’s Evin prison, urged Iranian women to share their stories of arrest and sexual assault at the hands of the authorities via her Instagram page.

With international tensions surging in the Middle East, Iranian authorities this month announced a nationwide operation to enforce the wearing of the Islamic headscarf by women, which has been obligatory since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Activists have reported that women have been arrested and taken away to police stations by the so-called morality police with the Persian hashtag “war against women” trending on social media.

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“People of Iran, I ask you, artists, intellectuals, workers, teachers, and students... inside and outside the country to protest against this war against women,” Mohammadi said in a message posted late Sunday by her supporters.

“Do not underestimate the power of sharing your experiences. Doing so will expose the misogynistic government and bring it to its knees,” she added.

She accused the authorities of bringing “a full-scale war against all women to every street in Iran”.

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Mohammadi issued the message in a phone call from Evin prison, her supporters said. Deprived of the use of her own prison phone card for five months, she used that of her fellow detainee Sepideh Gholian who is also seen as a political prisoner by rights groups.

She said that a newly arrived prisoner in Evin was Dina Ghalibaf, a journalist and student, who, according to rights groups, was arrested after accusing security forces on social media of putting her in handcuffs and sexually assaulting her during a previous arrest at a metro station.

“For years, we have witnessed many women who have endured assault, abuse, and beatings by government agents,” said Mohammadi.

Mohammadi, 52, was last year awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her campaign for human rights in Iran, which has seen her spend much of the last two decades in and out of jail.

She has been incarcerated since November 2021 and has not seen her Paris-based husband and twin children for several years.

Human Rights Watch today said that security forces “raped, tortured, and sexually assaulted detainees” during a crackdown on nationwide protests in 2022 and 2023.

The rights watchdog said it had investigated abuses against 10 detained people from regions with Kurdish, Baluch, and Azeri minority populations. — AFP

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