Tuesday, March 6, 2007

We have not been liberated

Women's basic rights are being rapidly eroded in Iraq and occupation forces seem to have forgotten their promises of empowerment.

Haifa Zangana
The Guardian

"The regime in Baghdad's Green Zone is busy organising a celebration of a different kind for this year's International Women's Day on 8 March. Among its highlights will be the execution of four Iraqi women. This follows on from its decision to honour four of its Iraqi officers accused of raping a young woman Zainab Abbas Hussain al-Shummary. The office of prime minister had forged an American medical report. Long gone are the colourful parades of Iraqi women commemorating their achievements. Now we only have parades of death, where the "liberated" and "empowered" Iraqi women and girls, covered head to toe with hijabs and abayas, will queue at police stations, prisons, detention camps, hospital's "fridges" and crowded morgues looking for the disappeared, kidnapped or their assassinated loved ones......

Let us start by talking death sentence. Bearing in mind that executions of women were formally prohibited under Iraqi law from 1965 on the grounds that women are life-givers and life-nurturers.

The four women sentenced to death and in imminent danger of execution are Samar Sa'ad 'Abdullah, Wassan Talib, Zeynab Fadhil, and Liqa' Qamar. Ages 25-31. They were tried individually for murder, kidnapping, and the murder of several members of Iraqi security forces in Baghdad. All denied the accusations and Amnesty International is questioning the circumstances which led to the sentences by the central criminal court of Iraq (CCCI) between 2005-2006. Two of the women have young children with them: Zeynab Fadhil has her three-year-old daughter, Liqa' Qamar her one-year-old daughter, who was born in prison. The death penalty was reinstated in August 2004 by the "sovereign" interim government.......

The rapes of Abeer, Zainab and Wajda are just few of many other cases documented by Iraqi human rights organisations and UNAMI. According to Mohamed Iraqi MP Al Dainey in a recent interview on Al Sharqiya TV, 1053 documented cases of rape by the occupation forces, militias and Police took place in Iraq since 2003......"

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