Feminist gathering in Tehran dispersed by police

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Police dispersed a group of activists who had gathered at the Haft-e Tir square in Tehran on Monday, reportedly using pepper spray and beating up some of the protestors. The group was staging a demonstration calling for equal treatment for women under the Iranian law and better protection of their rights. The Iranian Justice minister Jamal Karimirad later said that 70 people were detained in connection with the event, of whom 42 were women.

He also said that the reports of police beating up the protestors were being reviewed.

The activists were protesting against gender discrimination in Iranian law, which is partly based on the Islamic Sharia law. Women have had the right to vote and be elected to the Majlis (parliament) since 1963, but under the prevailing laws, they are excluded from constitutional posts such as Judge and President and their testimony in court is only worth half of that of a man. Similarly, "Blood Money" or compensation paid to the family of a murdered woman is only half of that for a man. The protestors were calling for equal divorce and custody rights for women, reform of inheritance laws, as well as a ban on polygamy.