Friday 10 July 2009

Iranian regime loves locking up young women

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has called on the Iranian government to release 23-year-old lecturer Clotilde Reiss, who has been held in the notorious Evin prison since 1st July, accused of espionage:

"Do you think my country would be so naive and shorthanded as to send a 23-year-old woman to spy in Iran? That's stupid, it's not possible," he told reporters during a visit to Lebanon. "This accusation doesn't hold up," said Kouchner."This young woman is innocent," he said of Reiss, a French lecturer at the Isfahan Technical University in central Iran, jailed in Iran on charges of espionage. "The innocent must be released. The innocent must be freed."

Kouchner shouldn't have been surprised. The Iranian regime seems to have a lurid propensity for locking up young women: when it's not beating them up, condemning them to death, or shooting them down in the streets. I've just finished reading Shirin Ebadi's autobiography, in which she tells the story of her friend Soraya, 'a truly beautiful young woman', who had the misfortune to be stopped by the morality police while on a road trip with some male friends. They too were accused of being spies, seemingly because some of them had studied abroad. The judge, a cleric, threatened to have Soraya whipped and thrown in gaol, but then offered her an alternative: 'Isn't it a shame...for a girl as intelligent as you to go to prison, to run around with these young men? If you confess, I'll take you as a temporary wife myself.' And in Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi describes the fate of one young woman whose attractiveness meant that she was repeatedly re-arrested and put in prison, where she was subject to sexual abuse by the repressed young men of the religious police.

As I've said before, this appears to be a religio-political system built on misogyny and what Hitchens accurately describes as 'rancid sexual repression'. May Clotilde Reiss soon be freed and this vile and anachronistic regime thrown on the rubbish tip of history.

(Via Raye Man Kojast? - which also has excellent coverage of yesterday's protests)

1 comment:

Brigada Flores Magon said...

Re 'rancid' in a religious context. The ultimate source might be the great Richard Cobb in his 1981 review of a study of the Bon Marché where, commenting on its propinquity to the most clerical quarter of Paris and the ardent Catholicism of its owners the Boucicauts ('there is still a prix Boucicaut for vouched-for respectable young virgins about to get married'), he mentions the more sycophantic employés trailing behind them 'the odour of incense, and the rancid smell of Left Bank clericalism.' From whatever source it emanates it is totally rotten as events in Iran have proved.