women in Iran: victims of an unjust law
Shahla Jahed, second temoporary wife of footballer, Naser Mohammed Khani, who was sentenced to death by hanging for murdering Laleh Saharkhizan, Mohammed Khani's first official wife was hanged at the Evin Prison early Wednsday morning.
According to the law of Ghesas or retribution, the family of the victim have the right to personally execute the accuser. In this case and according to one report, Laleh's brother and or son pulled the stool from under Shahla's feet and sat to watch her dance of death!
This case brings us to ask many questions:
1- Why wasn't Naser Mohammed Khani who was married to Laleh and had two children and still went after a young girls and seduced never brought before court as a co-accuser? Shahla was at about 13 when he kept her as his Sigheh for many years. But he was never questioned about his deadly role in ruining two women's lives?
2- Why wasn't the scene of the crime fully investigated in the first place? According to information someone had taken a shower after murdering Laleh and there has been wet towels and the sign of rape. But only Shahla had been charged with her murder.
3- Despite the case being referred to various judges and courts several times why hadn't the prosecutor questioned the role of any other person in the case? And why Shah "confessed" to the crime after being kept in prison for 11 months? A confession she later retracted saying Naser (whom she dearly loved to the end) persuaded her to confess or face the consequesnces.
In Iran, a man is permitted to marry as many women as he wishes on temporary contracts which can last from 1 hour to 100 years. In this, the money is exchanged and parties have to agree on the amount. Men of position and wealth simply use their power to betray their wives and bring chaos into the family by taking temporary wives (Or Sigheh/Motae). Although in the past this act was done in clandestine and men hid their Sigheh from the public, the new Family Bill which was opposed by women's rights activists makes it legal, official for men to obtain as many women as they wish if they have the means to buy them.
Women activists have repeatedly argued that such practice would ruin the foundation of family institution as it bring chaos into the life of the wife and the children once they find out the man has taken another wife. Nevertheless, this Bill is about to pass the parliament regardless of horrific consequences such as the case of Shahla Jahed and the murder of Laleh Saharkhizan.
In this case the lives of so many people was ruined from Laleh, her children and her family to Shahla and her family. And the fact that the Iranian law reporoduced another murderer by letting one of the family members kill Shahla!
The tragedy is deeper than one can imagine because the state legitimises the breakdown of family, the seduction of young girls and women, the chaos it bring about and reproduction of murder as the final act.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.