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Article 61

 
Article 61

(Madeh 61) Director: Mahvash Zia Sheikholeslami, IRA, 2005, original version / English subtitles, 73 min

In Iran, Article 61 of the Islamic Criminal Code provides impunity for crimes committed in defence of one's life, honour, chastity or property. But why is it that in practice this tolerant statute is not applied to women? Why are women who defend themselves against violent attacks by their husbands given severe prison sentences? Why is it that in cases of domestic violence perpetrated by women, the courts almost always dismiss self–defence, instead giving a verdict of premeditated crime? Going behind the walls of an Iranian prison, the director interviews women imprisoned for murder, which they committed spontaneously in situations when their husbands were abusing their human rights, threatening, beating or raping them or their children. Increasing media interest and the involvement of human rights organisations brings hope that the judiciary may yet treat cases of crimes committed in self–defence by men and women with equal measure. Some cases have already been reopened The lives of these Iranian women resemble each other as much as the traditional dresses they wear. They perpetrated similar acts of violence for similar reasons and received similar sentences in similar cases of injustice. Their cruel fortunes are documented by a series of stunning still photographs, enriching this engaging report on the current justice system in Iran. As the images dissolve into each other, one case begins to resemble another


 

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