Solidarity with Protests against Sexual Assault on Women in the Kurdish City of Mahabad in Iran

Farinaz Khosrawani

Farinaz Khosrawani – suffered tragic death while in custody

By Dr Amir Sharifi:

Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group and Kurdish Communities in Southern California
In Solidarity with Protests against Sexual Assault on Women in the Kurdish City of Mahabad in Iran

We members of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group and Kurdish Communities in Southern California express our solidarity with the protesters of the Kurdish city of Mahabad in Rojhelat (eastern Kurdistan in Iran) and their outrage against the sexual assault by an Islamic Republic Intelligence officer on Farinaz Khosrawani, a 25 year old female hotel employee, who jumped off to a tragic death to avoid being raped. Various sources have reported, “She threw herself from the hotel’s balcony on the fourth floor, for fear of being captured by the Iranian officer”. Citywide protests were held organized by a Women’s organization on the 7th of May in denouncing the heinous act. Security forces have responded violently injuring more than 20 people while the roads to the city have been blocked and military forces from neighboring cities have been mobilized to stop the spread of the protests. The Islamic Republic of Iran has even threatened a military crackdown if the protests persist. Unconfirmed reports indicate that two protesters have been killed and several arrested.

The tragic fate of this young and educated girl is not an isolated example as it reveals a persistent pattern of institutionalized violence and gendercide against women. It is not just the individual perpetrator but the Islamic Republic that is to be held accountable for the crime that has been committed against Khosrawani who in desperation was driven to face such a horrific death. Last year the world saw how a woman who in self-defense had killed her rapist, was brutally executed in Iran despite international appeals. The world has also seen and heard with disturbing frequency former Kurdish female prisoners’ harrowing first hand accounts of being raped or having witnessed actual or threats of rape by the Islamic Republic guards. A Kurdish woman told a human rights documentation center “After swearing by my ethnicity, the Iranian guard raped me using a bottle. The physical injury was eventually healed but the psychological one never did.” This shocking account reminds us of reports on how ISIS sexually brutalized Kurdish Ezidi young girls and women. An obvious similarity is the ways in which both the ISIS and Islamic Republic use rape as a political weapon against Kurdish women on the basis of ethnicity, gender, and religion. The only difference is that the Islamic Republic denies its well-documented abuses while ISIS publically defends its enslavement of Kurdish women and girls.

Women in Iran as a whole and Kurdish women in particular have very little legal protection against sexual harassment or violence. That is why the Mahabad protests and its call for justice for women deserves global attention and support against flagrant violations of human rights., particularly at a time that Islamic Republic is portrayed as a reformed political order. Only in recent months a number of Kurdish political prisoners were sentenced to death by hanging and more are at imminent risk.

Kurdish women set out a new vision in this century in Kobani with their transformative and liberating role against the enslaving ideology of ISIS and its brethren; they have defined new and pathways for women’s rights and equality in defeating the Islamic State. Their resistance against the malignant theocratic strains of Islamic fundamentalism was a victory for all women’s global struggle against endemic violence against women and girls. For this reason we call upon all human rights organizations and women’s groups to lend their empowering support to the Mahabad protesters and their struggle against the scourge of violence against women in Iran.

Dr. Amir Sharifi – Director of Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Groups Los Angeles (KHRAG)

3 Responses to Solidarity with Protests against Sexual Assault on Women in the Kurdish City of Mahabad in Iran
  1. Marzia
    May 9, 2015 | 16:45

    There are thousands of such cases in Iran but merely this specific one was brought to light.

  2. Kurd
    May 9, 2015 | 23:04

    Focus is not centered on funding, arming and training PJAK, KDPI and Komala Forces in Iran.
    Hundred of members of KDPI have returned from Europe back to Iraqi Kurdistan for special training.

  3. MKO
    May 9, 2015 | 23:11

    There are confirmed intelligence reports indicating that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not wish to fully cooperate with the International Community to root out IS terrorism in Iraq, Syria & Lebanon on purpose.

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