succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, May 19, 2006

I've added a new banner to the site, about Nazanin, an 18-year old Iranian facing the death penalty for killing two men in self-defense. Here's the story:

According to reports in the Iranian newspaper E’temaad, Nazanin told the court that three men had approached her and her niece, forced them to the ground and attempted to rape them. Seeking to defend her niece and herself, Nazanin stabbed one man in the hand with a knife that she possessed. As the men continued their attack, she stabbed another of the men in the chest, which eventually caused his death. She reportedly told the court “I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help”. She was nevertheless sentenced to the maximum punishment possible under the law, death by hanging.

Urgent action is needed to help save a young life whose only crime was an attempt to defend herself. Nazanin and many like her are caught between two undesirable options. On one hand, Iranian Penal Code severely limits the possibility of using ‘self-defense’ as a legitimate defence to aggression. On the other hand, if Nazanin had allowed the rape to take place, she could still be imprisoned, flogged or stoned for having sex outside of marriage unless four male witnesses to the actual rape would testify on her behalf.

(emphasis mine) If you feel so inclined, clicking on the banner will send you to sites where you can sign a petition, learn more about her case, and gather details for writing to your congressperson and/or local media.


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