Sixteen-year-old Ateqeh Rajabi was publicly hanged in the city centre in Neka in the northern Iranian province of Mazandaran on 15 August for “acts incompatible with chastity” after having been arrested a few months earlier for having sexual relations [Amnesty International]. She had no attorney at any stage of the farce.
During the “trial”, she expressed her outrage at the misogyny and injustice in society and “judicial” system and even removed some of her clothing. The lower court “judge” was so incensed by her protestations that he personally put the noose around her neck after his decision had been upheld by the “Supreme Court”.
In some reports on her execution, Ateqah has been labelled “mentally incompetent”.
I suppose it could be nothing but madness that drives a 16 year old to rage against the system. That drives Zahra Kazemi to take photographs in front of Evin prison. That drives Shahla Jahed to scream out in “court” against the torture she had faced and her execution order. That drives Maryam Ayoubi to rage against her stoning order.
I suppose it must be madness that brings hundreds of women to the streets of Iran on International Women”s Day to burn the hejab, that makes tens of thousands “improperly” veil despite the arrests and fines and harassment.
Reading that Ateqeh was mad reminds me of the innumerable protesting women deemed mad for their centuries. But dear readers, there is one difference.
It is not sweet 16 Ateqah who is mad for her century but the regime that has just brutally ended her life.
About Maryam Namazie is the host of TV International English, is a Central Council Member of the Organisation of Women's Liberation and Director of the International Relations Committee of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.