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News and Views: May 2008

Mauritania: Justice not working for rape victims

14/05/2008: The Mauritanian government says it is trying to increase prosecutions of rape cases but poorly trained judges working with murky, outdated legal texts make for slow progress. (IRIN Africa)

The penal code, which is heavily based on Sharia or Islamic law, does not give a precise definition of sexual violence, said lawyer Bilal Ould Dik, so a judge’s personal point of view can strongly sway his conviction decision.

Iran: Flogging and Prison Sentences for Women's Rights Activists

22/04/2008: The Iranian Judiciary has issued flogging and prison sentences for four campaigners for women's rights, thus continuing its program of harassment and prosecution of the women's rights movement. (International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)

"These flogging sentences are in violation of Iran's international obligations and amount to state-sponsored torture. There is no basis for these prosecutions," the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated.

WOMEN-PERU: The Enemy at Home

By Ángel Páez

LIMA, Jun 6 (IPS) - The plot of the film "Sleeping with the Enemy" is not fictional in essence. Close to 70 percent of all the women killed in one year in Peru died at the hands of their husbands, partners, lovers or boyfriends, and the murders were committed at home or in a place that was frequented by the couple.

Nazia, Afghanistan: "My husband cut off my ears and nose and broke my teeth"

Doctors at a hospital in Qalat, capital of Zabul Province in southern Afghanistan, are treating a brutally tortured woman whose husband cut off both her ears and nose, broke her teeth and shaved her head only three months after their marriage. The victim, 16-year-old Nazia, is also suffering from psychiatric distress due to her experience, according to a doctor in Qalat hospital.

From her bed in Qalat hospital Nazia told IRIN her story:

"Women Are Being Beheaded for Taking Their Veil Off": Honor Killings On Rise in Iraq

By Terri Judd, Independent UK
Posted on April 30, 2008, Printed on April 30, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/83710/

At first glance Shawbo Ali Rauf appears to be slumbering on the grass, her pale brown curls framing her face, her summer skirt spread about her. But the awkward position of her limbs and the splattered blood reveal the true horror of the scene.