Monday, September 04, 2006

Nazanin Afshin-Jam - Human Rights Hero

Nazanin Afshin-Jam was awarded the title "Human Rights Hero" last week by Youth for Human Rights International and an international youth summit held at the United Nations. The story is covered on the Scientology Press Office web site.

Here is an article from April on the work Nazanin is doing to save the life of a young girl in Iran.

TAKING A STAND: Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Former Miss World Canada 2003, Struggles To Save Iranian Compatriot From Execution

4/27/06 By Darius KADIVAR
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Former Miss World Canada 2003, Struggles To Save Iranian Compatriot From Execution
It’s never easy to be a teenager anywhere in the world but it is certainly more difficult in Iran where an entire nation is subject to particularly harsh not to say absurd so-called Islamic laws meant to regulate all aspects of human life including the most intimate ones since the advent of Islamic Republic more than 27 years ago.

It is not exaggerated to say that Iranian Women have since been subject to a form of sexual apartheid. For instance the price of the blood of a Woman, is worth half the price of that of a Man. A woman cannot become a Judge because they consider that she cannot be objective enough. Similarly the testimony of two Women is worth that of a single Man. Paradoxically however it is precisely Iranian women who are at the forefront of the struggle for social and judiciary justice in today’s Iran. The year 2003 seemed to smile to Iranian Women and raise hopes on a solution to their unfair predicament.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate was indeed attributed to a former Iranian Judge ( before the Revolution of 1979 ), now only lawyer ,Shirine Ebadi for her focus on human rights, especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children. Ms. Ebadi won from a record field of 165 candidates, including Pope John Paul and former Czech President Vaclav Havel. Interestingly the same year Iranian born Nazanin Afshin-Jam was elected Miss World Canada 2003 and Miss World first runner-up. As if symbolically two generations of Iranian Women separated by the turmoils of revolution and exile were thus honored in the West, setting in their own respective ways an example for Iranian Women worldwide to look up to and particularly in their native country.

Alas nearly three years after the situation of Iranian women has not considerably changed for the better. The radical laws continue to be prejudicial to Women and the presidential election of an Iranian radical fanatic Mahmoud Ahmaninejad (who seems to have single handedly invented in the Iranian community anti-Semitic militancy that was virtually inexistent in Persian society) has only encouraged his hard-line supporters to intensify their firm grip on the country’s judiciary. At the face of such rising intolerance in her native country Nazanin Afshin-Jam has chosen to take a stand for the predicament of an Iranian 18 year old namesake who is threatened by an imminent execution. Her crime? Having fatally stabbed to death in March 2005 one of three men who attempted to rape her as well as her 16 year old niece in a Park in Southern Tehran.Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Former Miss World Canada 2003

During her trial Nazanin said "I wanted to defend myself and my niece. I did not want to kill that boy. At the heat of the moment I did not know what to do because no one came to our help." She was nevertheless sentenced to the maximum punishment possible under the current law, death by hanging ...

The former Miss World Canada, who considers that Nazanin is rather a victim than a criminal, is determined to help save the young teenager’s life and use her own International fame to draw attention on the teenager’s dangerous predicament. If nothing seems to ebb the determination of Afshin-Jam, a former Warrant Officer First Class of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and Political Science Student (*), and who has launched an online petition (See petition ) to support this cause, it is very much likely that the Iranian Judiciary carries out the sentence. This makes Afshin-Jam’s petition all the more important and her struggle to save her compatriot all the more urgent.

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