Thank you very much.
Let me, for example, start with the aspect that If you are dissenting and you're a man, you're treated badly, but if you're a woman, you are treated even worse. That is a distinction that I would draw there. Women lawyers who dissent, for example, will be reprimanded much more. I'm not saying that men are spared this, and don't take me as saying that they're spared, but there is an extra, awful, and very devious way of dealing with women there in terms of trying to torture them.
You don't have to even physically torture them. There are reports of cases in which you are humiliated, in which your sexual organs are being discussed in public, if you are in prison. You are asked personal questions that are unrelated to what your life is all about, and tough personal questions, which are socially unacceptable. There's a lot of talk about tradition and social norms in Iran, but when they want to persecute women, it all disappears.
Then there's the fact that women prisoners are tortured in the sense that they're kept away from their children. They will be told that their child is going to see them, but then the meeting is cancelled. It's a very insidious kind of torture for a mother. Then it's put off until a week later that the child is coming to see them, and the child doesn't turn up. What is happening to the child? The mother is not being told what is happening.
Many women have also written to me from prison about hearing children crying when they come to see their mothers and they have been separated from their mothers. Also there is the fact that in universities and educational departments, women are sexually harassed and there is impunity for it, but if a woman wants to sit with a man according to her own wishes, she is not allowed to do it. There is a kind of sexual control over them in that sense.
It's all very well to say, all we want is for you to wear a head scarf and you can do whatever you want. It's not correct. Even politically women cannot contest certain elections; women cannot get to certain polls; and if you look at the family law for women, they're very much subjugated and under the control of the male partner. A woman needs permission from her male partner about how she behaves, where she travels, and where she goes.
If the example is given to me that women are great entrepreneurs in Iran, it may be true, but it's no thanks to the Government of Iran.