The Islamic Penal Code not only allows women to be punished by men in some cases, but also allows men to escape severe punishment if they commit murders of women and girls. (Twitter)

February 10, 2022

Following the brutal murder of 17-year-old Mona Heydari in the southern city of Ahvaz, rights activists have signed a petition to the UN Secretary-General and its affiliated institutions asking them to pressure the Islamic Republic to change its laws pertaining to women and the violence they face.

The petition, initiated by women’s rights activist Asieh Amini, highlights Mona Heydari’s murder by the hands of her husband and the video released documenting the brutal crime.

“The horror of this scene is intensified when we know that this is only the latest example of dozens of similar cases in recent years that are indirectly endorsed by the laws of the Islamic Republic,” the petition, which was signed by more than 1,000 people as of the evening of Tuesday, February 8, read. “Unfortunately, the Islamic Penal Code not only allows women to be punished by men in some cases, but also allows men to escape severe punishment if they commit murders of women and girls.”

The petition’s Twitter profile quoted Asieh Amini, along with co-activists Banafsheh Jamali and Shirin Shams, saying that a legal vacuum and discriminatory Sharia-based laws paved the way for the murder of women, and that government propaganda using words such as ‘zeal’ and ‘honor’ had implicitly condoned such killing.

The petition calls on the Secretary-General of the United Nations and its affiliated offices to use UN human rights mechanisms to call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to:

1. Change the country’s criminal law as it applies to domestic violence against women and honor killings, ensuring that the law acts as a   deterrent and is punitive. It should ensure that anyone committing a crime against a woman — including fathers, grandfathers, brothers, husbands, and sexual partners — faces severe punishment, but not the death penalty

2- Rapidly amend and approve the “Bill to uphold women’s security against violence,” and to ensure the bill includes all types of violence against women, with specific reference to honor- and “reputation”-related crimes and domestic violence. The bill has been circulating among government departments for nearly a decade, and many of its clauses pertaining to women’s rights have been removed.

3- Regulate its domestic laws in accordance with the general standards of women’s rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to which the Islamic Republic is a signatory. This convention was submitted for review to the Expediency Council many years ago, with no results forthcoming.

4. Ensure executive and cultural institutions prepare mandatory cultural and educational programs to prevent violence against women, and in particular honor killings, and to define woman-killing or girl-killing as a crime and a social anomaly. In order to put an end to the acceptability of killing women in some cultural contexts, the government must make a commitment raising public awareness.

Petition organizers said on Twitter that their aim is not to “severely punish” Mona Heydari’s killers, but to instigate confrontation of the Islamic Republic by the international community, and for countries to call out Iran’s discriminatory laws.

Iran Wire

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Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.