Ten Thousand Signatures Against Polygamy

translatd by Roja Bandari

[khabar online->http://khabaronline.ir/news-112466.aspx]: Midday today, ten thousand letters titled “Disallow Polygamy!” were delivered to Majles (the Iranian Parliament).

Thirty mothers and women advocates of equal rights entered the Iranian Parliament, carrying letters signed by ten thousand people objecting to the promotion of polygamy.

According to the news website Khabar Online, women’s rights activists arrived at the office of the head of the parliament (Mr. Larijani) and after communicating their demands, displayed a quilt illustrating the pain women endure as a result of polygamy laws. The quilt was made of forty pieces, each narrating the story of a different woman from a city of Iran who had suffered as a result of polygamy. The women activists delivered separate letters to the two offices of Legal and Judicial Committee, and the Social and Cultural Committee of Majles.

Shahla Entesari, one of the women who came to the Majles today says to Khabar Online: “Two months ago more than five thousand signatures were delivered to Majles in opposition to articles 22 and 23 of the Family Protection Bill. Subsequent to that action, a group of us who are active in women’s rights decided to collect another ten thousand signatures and deliver them to Majles. Although we had an appointment scheduled for today to meet with Representative Ghorbani, a member of the Judicial Committee, we were not able to meet with him. We then went to Mr. Larijani’s office but were not able to meet with him either. We then delivered the signatures to the offices.”

Previously, in September of this year, more than five thousand letters in opposition to polygamy were similarly hand delivered to parliament representatives.

At this point, the Judicial Committee has completed reviewing the modified articles of the Family Protection Bill and the remaining articles are scheduled to come back to the general assembly of the Majles for consideration after the Majles has completed its review of the proposed “Fifth Program for Development”.

Three years after it was first presented to the parliament, the family protection bill was finally introduced in the general assembly of the parliament this September. However, because of the great amount of disagreement and controversy on some of its articles, the bill was returned to the Judicial and Legal Committee with the direct order of the head of the parliament.

During the past three years, articles 22, 23, and 25 (later omitted to some extent and incorporated in article 24) were the subject of great controversy and especially opposition of many women’s rights activists as well as some parliament representatives and several legal scholars.

Two months ago when the bill was returned to the Judicial Committee, it was expected that major changes to the controversial articles would be implemented; however, there has been no significant modification made to these articles by the Committee.

Minor modifications made to the bill in the last review by the Judicial Committee included a change to article 22. Article 22 described conditions for legal registration, expiration, and “bazl” (absolving) of temporary marriages in case of pregnancy. The committee members modified the article by stressing that the legal system places its basis on permanent marriage and protects permanent marriage [as opposed to temporary marriage].

As a result of the revision, article 24 , which discussed Mehrieh, was completely omitted. The new article 24 states that if multiple marriages of the husband “Osr-O-Haraj” (cause distress) to the wife, she can request a divorce from the court.

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