Last Year, Iran Executed a 16-year-old Girl

While reading about the gay teenagers recently hanged in Iran (see previous post), I came across the story of Ateqeh Rajabi, a sixteen year old girl executed last August for “acts incompatible with chastity” – and, apparently, for talking back to a judge. The man she committed the “acts incompatible” with, in contrast, was sentenced to 100 lashes. From the Telegraph:

So what was the judge (one Haji Rezaie) doing sentencing an “unchaste” 16-year-old to hang? He said that she had a “sharp tongue” and had “undressed in court”.

It seems that all she did was to take off her headscarf and insist that she was the victim of an older man’s advances: but even if she had stripped naked and called the judge a fat ignorant bastard, those actions would hardly merit death, even under Islamic law. Nevertheless, the judge was so outraged that he decided he would personally put the noose round the child’s neck.

Note, however, that this was not a lone act by an isolated judge; the Iranian Supreme Court approved of Rajabi’s execution before it took place.

Frontpage Magazine published a symposium about Ateqeh Rajabi’s death. One of the experts interviewed was Donna M. Hughes, a women’s studies professor and an expert on international abuses of women’s rights, who argues that “misogyny is central to Islamic fascist ideology, just as anti-Semitism was central to Nazism.” Here’s Ms. Hughes’ account of the execution:

Rajabi talked back to the judge, reportedly insulted him and said that the real perpetrators of moral corruption should be punished not the victims. That sounds like an accusation to me and possibly a threat. Does the judge know who these real perpetrators are that she referred to? We know that judges and other officials have been caught running prostitution rings. In her outrage at the unfairness of the charges against her, one account said she “undressed in court,” although according to Alasdair Palmer in The Sunday Telegraph (August 29, 2004), she only took off her headscarf.

To us in the West, that seems like such a small act of defiance, but to the Islamic fascists, it is a threat to their entire ideology and system of social control. A woman or girl pulling off a headscarf is a challenge to the whole theocratic terrorist state. If a girl is allowed to get away with it, the whole system will start to crumble.

Some news stories have said that Rajabi was mentally ill. She doesn’t sound mentally ill to me. She sounds furious and tragically sane and intelligent enough to see through the corruption and injustice of the insane mullahs’ system. She was foolishly courageous enough to confront a perpetrator of the misogynous system.

Haji Rezaii, the sadistic judge, chose to personally take part in snuffing out her life. He personally put the noose around Rajabi’s neck and gave the signal for the crane to hoist her body into the air.

Afterwards, Rezaii said that his real reason for executing her was her “sharp tongue.” In truth, her real crime was speaking truth to power.

The entire Frontpage symposium is worth reading – the most interesting article about Iran I’ve read in quite a while. One of the three experts they interviewed is a Freudian psychoanalyst with a (to my mind) dubious theory blaming Iranian misogyny on over-closeness to mothers; but the other two experts, Ms. Hughes and Iranian expatriot activist Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, are fascinating.

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30 Responses to Last Year, Iran Executed a 16-year-old Girl

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  3. 3
    Jeff Keezel says:

    I hope these stories are real and not of the WMD variety we got to instigate Gulf War II or the Iraqi soldiers dumping babies out of incubators variety we got to help instigate Gulf War I – Iran being in the Axis of Evil and all that…thekeez

  4. 4
    Wolf DeVoon says:

    I intended to thank you for posting ’16-year-old Girl’ until Keezel groaned about its authenticity. I don’t really care if it was reported accurately, nor is it worth checking and rechecking and debating. I salute and admire defiance. I salute and admire young people. They have an inalienable right to take over, and it is certain they could not do worse than holy imams, priests, and rabbis..

  5. 5
    Barbara says:

    I can’t say whether this specific story is true. However, it would not surprise me because I helped a young Iranian woman obtain political asylum and there’s nota doubt in my mind that it could be true. There has been a return of stoning of unchaste women in some cases, in some areas, and women everywhere are routinely harassed by anybody who thinks that they are not dressed or behaving appropriately, and there is a documented case of Iran hanging a young girl who was demonstrably schizophrenic for unchaste behavior. Many young Iranians male and female are defiant. Look for more stories like this in the future.

  6. 6
    Kyra says:


    Anyone else now fantasizing about beating this . . . *I* don’t call him a judge . . . f*cked-in-the-head misogynist pig (yes that’s intentional) will do . . . to a bloody pulp?

    I didn’t think it was possible, but this guy makes Roberts look like Sandra Day O’Conner. At least in America, our judges are I-M-P-A-R-T-I-A-L. And by the way, if Rajabi “undressed in court,” then Haji was already undressed.

    Jeff–WMD kind or not, we are slowly learning the sad truth about the excuses people keep giving us to attack the Middle East: attacking the Middle East does not help, and sometimes it hurts. I was absolutely ecstatic, literally jumping up and down laughing, when they first said we were going to attack Afghanistan. Silly me, I thought that with the Taliban out of the way, women would have something close to equality like they did before the Taliban took over. Not so much. Then we attacked Iraq, and I somewhat more dubiously listened to reports of Saddam’s atrocities (official government rapists came up once or twice). But now, we’ve been in Iraq for awhile and things have gotten worse for women, and the new constitution looks to be much more restrictive than Saddam ever was. America’s efforts in the Middle East seem to be promoting democracy without the huge emphasis on individual rights and civil liberties that makes our democracy something other than a tyranny of the loud and powerful. In Iraq, it seems to be just a case of “majority rules,” and the majority seems all too happy to play pinata with women’s rights. And I really don’t think that should be a continuing trend.

    Here’s hoping, though, that Iran’s people manage to get rid of their theocracy. A generation ago they chose it willingly, but this generation had it forced upon them.

  7. 7
    Sheelzebub says:

    Jeff, I assure you, it’s quite real. Amnesty International condemned this when it happened.

  8. 8
    Roberta says:

    first of all what is misogyny? second that is murder, regardless she did nothing deserving of death, poor girls and all they are doing is increasing the hatred the woman have for the system they live under and the injustice of it all.

    they will only encourage woman to become suicide bombers this way.afterall if you have no freedoms and are treated like of no account and your basically in extreme slavery you have nothing to lose by blowing yourself up and taking along some of those misogyny guys with you.


  9. 9
    Susan says:

    You can defend these people as you wish. However, do not pretend that they sign in on values we take for granted, like, the integrity of the individual, the equality of women, freedom of speech and study, all that garbage.

  10. 10
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Many of them do and many of them don’t. Just like us. As for what we take for granted, I think liberals, especially feminists have very much shown that we value and don’t take for granted equality of women, freedom of speech and study etc., etc..

    In fact, while much more barbaric in many cases, I’d say in many ways it’s still similar to the problems we face. Many men in the United States feel it’s absolutely appropriate, if not at the very least understandable to ‘punish’ ‘lippy’ women.

  11. 11
    Brian Vaughan says:

    You’re linking to Frontpage Magazine? Are you insane? Those people are the most extreme reactionaries you can find outside a KKK rally. They’re organizing campaigns to ban leftists from universities, call for antiwar activists to be tried for treason, and praise Auguste Pinochet and condemn Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. They’re careful to never actually call for genocide against Arabs, but they hint at it frequently.

    I don’t really doubt that this story about the execution of a young woman in Iran is true. But even Hitler would have accurately perceived the sky is blue. That’s no reason to treat ultra-right fanatics as credible.

  12. 12
    Kim (basement variety!) says:
  13. 13
    Robert says:

    Brian, you’re equally removed from the mainstream. Should everyone right of Ralph Nader ignore you if you report on an event, because your views are so extreme?

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    Brian, I’m quite aware of what Frontpage is, and until today every article I’ve ever read in Frontpage has been utter garbage. If the only reason to think this event had happened was a report in Frontpage, I’d be skeptical; but as Kim pointed out, this execution was well-documented.

    The Frontpage article is analysis, not reporting. However, I read this article and thought that Hughes’ comments in particular were well worth reading. Hughes seems more right-wing than I am, but she nonetheless seems to be a legitimate scholar and feminist.

    I guess I’d find criticism of the article itself more compelling than criticism of it for where it was published.

  15. 15
    Brian Vaughan says:

    Ampersand, the problem is linking to Frontpage. They’re trying to portray extreme reactionary politics as legitimate — and you’re helping them.

  16. 16
    Lynne says:

    I have some friends in Tehran. Female friends. It is quite shocking, the things they must endure. It is a well known fact that people are often executed in Iran for being “unchaste” or for being gay. It is wrong and I think it is very appropriate that people in this country speak up about such things.

    I just wouldnt want it to go any further. I would hate for our government to decide to liberate the Iranians by bombing them to pieces.

  17. 17
    Barbara says:

    In truth, Iranian liberalization is going to take another generation, and will be a two steps forward and one, two or three steps backward process. The current “chilling” of liberalization began in early 2002 with the axis of evil speech, although moderates have been under constant attack since they began winning elections.

    I could go on and on about this because I had to become so enmeshed in everything having to do with Iranian repression for about a year. Suffice it to say that (a) Iran is not a democracy because veto power over everything, literally, belongs to a reigning clerical council that is not elected; (b) notwithstanding (a), Iran educates its citizens well, including females, and (c) an increasing majority of Iranian people have no memory of the Shah.

    Other fun facts: prostitution and drug rings in the hinterlands (outside of Teheran) are controlled by clerics, some of the same clerics who are gung ho for the execution of “unchaste” women; there are about 8 separate police forces whose job it is to spy and harass “undesirables” (Savak lives!); and there are many vigilante groups who act as “lifestyle” police unchecked by any formal authority.

    I am not going to do a rip apart comparison of Iran and the West, but the treatment of women in Iran can be brutal, a point that is made most evident by the disparate treatment of men and women who engage in identical conduct. As my client and friend used to say, it is the job of women to make sure they do everything possible to keep the wild animals (men) at bay — and if they can’t, it’s their own fault, and they are harshly punished for their failure. How many women in the U.S. had acid thrown in their faces last year because they were considered to be inappropriately dressed? This happens in Iran, and when it is done there is virtually no expectation that hte police will do anything. It really is different.

  18. 18
    alsis39 says:

    Robert, I’ve got news for you. There are anarchist and libertarian sites on the ‘net so far to the left that they make Brian or myself, not to mention Nader, look like the joint spawn of Sam Walton’s widow and the John Birchers’ current magnate. If you have yet to notice that, it’s hardly Brian’s fault.

    I have no doubt this story is true, but I never thought for two seconds that our little junket in Afghanistan had fuck-all to do with women’s rights, and if we bomb Iran, it won’t have fuck-all to do with women’s rights, either.

  19. 19
    Barbara says:

    If we bomb Iran we will set the cause of women’s rights back indefinitely. Also greater freedom and liberalization for Iranian people in general. The idea that scores of Iranians will rise up to join us is as risible as the notion that scores of disaffected Americans would join with a foreign invader whose principle motivation is to change our foreign policy. Bombs are not subtle. They tend to piss off everybody who is affected by them. They are a heck of a lot more threatening than the ultra-conservative busybody next door.

  20. 20
    Lynne says:

    I soooo agree with you, Barbara. I think that the United States’ favorite foreign policy of bombing away problems doesnt ever really solve anything.

    One of the very interesting things I have noticed about Iran from talking to my friends is that it really matters who your father is since fathers control their families. My friend’s father was educated in Europe and holds the belief that women should be educated, outspoken, opinionated, and equal under the law to men. So she gets to speak her mind at home and she gets to learn English and her parents give her interenet access so she can email her friends. But, she is totally dependant on her father and will be until she gets married. If he were to cast her out of his home, she would be in big trouble. Can you imagine the effect that kind of power given to one member of the family must have on family dynamics?

  21. 21
    Bookgirlwa says:

    This is a truly horrific story, unfortunately one of many. I have no words to describe how enraged I am that this sort of thing goes on. What courage and bravery that young woman showed, to stand up to these evil men. She is a great loss to this world

  22. 22
    L33tminion says:

    What a horrible, horrible thing.

    And hoisted by a crane, too. Being lifted instead of dropped from a height practically guarantees a slow and painful death.

  23. Ampersand, thanks for posting this.

    Readers interested in Iranian evente may want to visit the Free Iran news forum and the SMCCDI homepage, Activistchat, and SOS Iran.

  24. 24
    sungoddess says:

    In Muslim countries, the Qu’ran has little to do with the way men treat women. Men can find all manner of reason and justification for cruelty and inhumanity; in a glance, in a book. I believe this sort of injustice has continued apace for far too long and it will be the undoing of many, not least of which are innocents. I fear that human society will experience a shake up like none in recent memories, and it will be this sort of evil that becomes the stone that topples the mountain. Believe me when I say this, NO GOD condones this; this is the work of human kind.

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  26. 25
    Nick says:

    This Judge shouldn’t still be employed or at puzzlingly best, still alive, as in any normal country one or the other would have ended his murderous existence. Personally, I know that if I were living there, the land wouldn’t be big enough for the two of us.

  27. 26
    Aslan says:

    It is hard to believe but as an Iranian who lived most of my life in Iran i know that this was a true story and sadly not the only one. we have hundreds of these kind of stories.

    by the way, thank you blog owner for doing this.

    check the 6 part documentary on youtube:

  28. 27
    Sadra Amiri says:

    I am Iranian , but realy shame when read about these news

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