Public humiliation has been used as punishment before in other Iranian cities, but not ours. Personally, though this man was a criminal [Editor's Note: he was convicted on charges of battery and disrupting the public order], I am against public humiliation. However, in this case, it’s the technique chosen to do this that upset me the most. This sentence is insulting to half of our population, that is, all Iranian women.
Among those who protested on Tuesday were about a dozen women wearing red dresses, similar to the traditional outfit the guilty man was made to wear. They belonged to the Marivan Women’s Community, which is very active in our region. They fight for women’s rights, for example by protesting against honour killings.
Residents of Marivan do not like being mistreated. We often protest to fight for our rights -- more than in most Iranian cities. I think this is in part thanks to the presence of Marivan University, whose students are quite active. For example, they recently organised demonstrations to ask the government to reopen the border with Iraq, which Marivan is close to, in order to boost our region’s economy.
As far as I can remember, this is the first time in Iran that a man has been sentenced to being dressed in drag. [Editor’s Note: Along with the man who was paraded through Marivan on April 15, two other men received the same sentence, but in their cases, it has not yet been carried out]. I think that the fact that this happened in Marivan is no coincidence, but rather a way to try to scare a population deemed unruly. However, this has completely backfired!