A Blog Written By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi
Washington Post / Blog Post
By Roozbeh Mirebrahimi
Perhaps that morning when she woke up to get ready to meet her fiancé in a park in Hamedan city, she was thinking of many things, but no was that only one day after this visit her soulless body will be delivered to her family.
Zahra Bani Ameri was a 27-year old MD who was passing her residency and practical training in Hamedan. She was there to cure her patients and free them of their pain. But the Islamic-deeds division of government security guards related to Islamic militia – Bassij – in the morning of October 12th, a day before Eid-e Fitr (the last day of the month of Ramadan), arrested Zahra along with Hamid, her fiancé; they were walking in the park and got arrested under a pretext allegation of illegal and non-Islamic relationship. One day after Zahra’s arrest, on October 13th , her body was delivered out of the Bassij station and to her family.
After Eid-e Fitr’s holiday, the students of Bo Ali Sina University who just got back to their daily classes were shocked by the news of Zahra’s death: by Bassij’s account she strangled herself in her cell. The universities Internet station spread the news. Soon after this public exposure the contradictory reactions of authorities began. Journalists, social rights activists and bloggers came to the front and started questioning those involved. Bassij’s and the state prosecution office’s claim of her committing suicide became a puzzle which did not match the facts.
Why was she arrested? Was the arrest legal in the first place? Under which basis Bassij kept her under arrest more than 24 hours? If it is true that she committed suicide what was her motives? Base on the forensic pathology report the time of death was at 9 pm on October 13th, but websites and bloggers report that Zahra’s brother had a telephone conversation with her, exactly 30 minutes before her time of death. Her brother says that they talked a couple of times and Zahra appeared normal in all of them; there was no sign of suicide or depression on her voice. Why do the authorities’ have divided statements? Why suddenly after two weeks the forensic pathology’s report changes and declares that Zahra was a virgin contrary to the previous reports?
All this information was published by the Bo Ali University’s website and a couple of other websites concentrating on women’s rights and by women’s right activists. The issue of virginity becomes a crucial concern in this case. It is important because based on some of the reports and rumors Zahra was raped while under arrest.
The latest news confirms that Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer, human rights activist and the winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 has accepted the case for Zahra’s family and is following the case. Dr. Zahra’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Islamic-deeds division of government security guards related to Islamic militia – Bassij. On of Zahra’s friends and coworker writes on her blog: “ her arrest because of having bad Hijab (Non Islamic Outfit) and wearing too much make up is ridiculous. She always wore a long smock with a closed – scarf. She was religious and very devoted. And to slur over her blood in this manner is outrageous.