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“Women in Shroud” – special WATCH DOCS screening and meeting with Shadi Sadr

We invite our readers to a special screening of “Women in Shroud” held as part of the WATCH DOCS Film Festival, as well as to a meeting with the protagonist of the film, Shadi Sadr – an Iranian journalist, lawyer and advocate of women rights.

Until 2009 Shadi Sadr worked in Iran, where as a criminal lawyer she successfully defended women sentenced to death. In 2009, she was awarded the Lech Wałęsa Prize. Ms Sadr will meet with the audience after the screening to talk about her work and the challenges currently faced by human rights advocates in Iran.

In Iran death by stoning is a punishment inflicted on women for adultery, prostitution or taking a life in self-defence, sometimes even without any evidence of guilt. In 2002 stoning ceased to be used as an official punishment in Iran because of international pressure. Since that time, executions have been organised in secret.

The shocking documentary by Farid Haerinejad and Mohammad Reza Kazemi includes the story of 21-year-old Lelya, a victim of regular incest rapes by her brothers, who has been forced into prostitution by her own mother since the age of nine. Sentenced to stoning for these “crimes”, Leyla was rescued from the terrible death by Shadi Sadr, the main figure portrayed in the film, and her colleagues working for a women rights NGO. The girl, whose intellectual development stopped at the level of an eight-year-old, received 99 lashes and a three and half year prison sentence. After she was released and taken into care of Shadi’s organisation, Leyla required even speech lessons. Advocating for basic rights in Iran is mortally dangerous. After she was beaten and arrested during protests against the controversial presidential elections of 2009, Shadi left Iran to carry on her campaign against the most inhumane form of legal killing.

The screening will take place on Wednesday, 22 October, at 8 pm in Kino Lab, Center of Contemporary Art. Free invitations may be collected at the cinema’s box office. The number of available invitations is limited to the cinema’s seating capacity.

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