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Spouse killings in Iran

Researcher on women’s issues and criminologist Shahla Moazami interviewed 220 killers: 131 men and 89 women. All were in jail at the time of the interview. Moazami found gender differences in the murder cases. 100% of the men killed their wife themselves, while 67% of the women were assisted by another man in the murder of their husband. Men kill of jealousy; the women want to get out of the marriage.

Iranian laws are based on the shari’ah-laws, which in turn is founded on Islamic holy writings. According to Iranian law a man can kill his wife without punishment if he catches her with another man. But there must be witnesses to the incident – four men. If these criteria are not fulfilled, the man will be punished and might face death sentence. However, when a woman finds solid proof of her husband’s unfaithfulness, she has no right to kill, but can go to court and ask for divorce.

If a woman can prove her husband’s violence by, for example, getting statements from a doctor, she can be granted divorce. But a man cannot be sentenced for violence against his wife, and the police seldom act when a woman complains about her husband beating her. Both the police and the courts will send the woman back to her violent husband. Moazami tells that there is little knowledge among most women about their rights and they are not aware that violence can be a valid reason for divorce – however, this process is long and it can take up to five years before divorce is granted.

Divorce is also difficult for women in Iran, Moazami says, because most women are economically dependent on their husband and besides the father automatically gets parental custody and she looses her children. Moazami tells that the new generation of educated women divorces their husbands more often when they face violence in their marriage. They manage better on their own.

Women who kill
From her interviews Moazami found a clear and common pattern in the stories of the female killers. The women married young, often 12-14 years old, and they had from 5 to 7 children. At the time of the murder their average age was 29 years old. Many of them tell that their husband had lost interest in them, and they felt that their beauty was fading. When a new man takes an interest in them, they fall easily for him. The law gives women few possibilities to get a divorce, and the murder of the husband is planned and done together with the new boyfriend. Only 33% of the women did the killing on their own. Moazami also found cases where women, sometimes with the assistance of their daughters, killed a violent husband.

Moazami thinks there are several structural causes to spouse killing. She mentions poverty, illiteracy, traditional opinions and Iranian women’s position in marriage and society. Young marriage age is also important. Moazami thinks that the women were too young to understand marriage when they married at 12-14 years old, and it was difficult for them make their own demands.

Islam has two traditions, Sunni and Shi’a. Iran is mainly Shi’a, but some areas of the country have large groups of Sunni Muslims. In these areas there are fewer spouse killings, which Moazami relates to the fact that divorce is more easily obtained in the Sunni tradition, for both sexes.

Men who kill
The men’s average age was 40 when the murder was performed. The men had married when they were 22-24 years old with women ten years their junior. Polygamy is practiced in Iran, and 14% of the men had two wives, of which one was killed. 2% of the men had three wives, and killed one of them. 32% of the men were married for the second time. All the men Moazami interviewed had done the murder by themselves. The men gave their wives unfaithfulness as motive for the murder, but often it was more suspicion of adultery than actual events.

Moazami tells that murder of wives is more common in Southern Iran, where many people of Arabic descendant live. There the age difference between the spouses is larger, and jealousy killings are more common there than in the rest of Iran. When Moazami interviewed female killers in the south, the women told that they did not want to be released from prison. They were afraid that their family would kill them. Many women asked the prison authorities of transfer to prisons in other parts of Iran, something which they usually were granted.

Blood price, punishment and the responsibility of the children
In murder cases blood money is used at punishment in Iran. If a man is killed, he has to pay the victim’s family RLS 180.000.000 in compensation. But the blood price of a woman is half of a man’s. Murder has a dual respect in criminal law in Iran that is private and public. The State has a minimum of two years jail verdict. The victim’s family can either demand the death penalty or blood money. If the family demands death penalty, they have to pay the relevant blood money to the executed person’s family. In cases of spouse killing, when there are children in the marriage, the children are the ones who determine the faith of their living parent. The logic of the court is that the children own the family’s blood. The parent will stay in prison until the daughters become nine years old and the sons 15.

When asked how a nine-year-old child can decide on the execution of their father or mother, Moazami answers dryly that according to Islam, a girl can marry when she is 9 years old, and thus make adult decisions. But she adds that there is a proposal to change the law and the age limit in these cases to 13 years for girls. Moazami tells that in most cases the children set their parent free, but the children have to agree on this matter. Often the adults of the victim’s family make the decision for the children.

Many killers cannot afford the blood price. Then they have to remain in jail until they come up with the money, but this might take many years. Moazami cited cases where people stayed in prison until they died because of lack of money.

Moazami claims she sees a new trend in that the courts themselves have started to rule out the death penalty. Moazami tells about a case in the city of Efsahan. The husband was unemployed and went to Tehran to find work. When he came home, the neighbour told him that his wife had a lover. The husband confronted the wife and beat her. The wife told him angrily that four of the seven children had other fathers. The husband killed both the wife and these four children. He was sent to jail, and awaits the decision of the three living children whether he will be executed or not.

Honorary killing
Moazami knows the case of Fadime in Sweden and the discussion on honorary killings. In her opinion there are few honorary killings in Iran. She thinks this is not a part of Iranian culture, but she says it has happened in areas with Arabic influence. She also thinks it was more common before, but that girls of today run away before they are killed. Young women no longer stay in the villages when they face unwanted marriages or threats of revenge from their family when they have been disobedient. They leave or run away. Honorary killings were more common ten years ago. But Moazami also adds that she has less knowledge of honorary killings, because the court will set the killer free.

About Shahla Moazemi
Shahla Moazami was born in 1947 in Efsfahan province. She completed her master’s degree in criminal law taking prostitution as her thesis with her PHD in criminology at the University of Tehran.

Moazami is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology at the University of Tehran. She has done research on violence against women, run away girls, violence against women in work and alternative punishment for women and spouse killings. Presently she is working on a research project about the effects of death penalty on the women in the family.

Last year Moazami published a book on family law for young girls. The book was published with support from the Presidential Office for Women’s Participation. After six months the Ministry of Education banned the book. A female religious clergy thought that the book was not ”suitable” and the official reason was that a book on family law should be for both sexes, a not only girl. But Moazami thinks that the issue was more; that it should be the exclusive right of the clergy to teach family law. However, it was decided that the book be used as a teacher’s guide and be thought for both girls and boy student.

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Video surfaces of Milo Yiannopoulos defending pedophilia, ACU board reportedly not consulted on CPAC invite

The American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual gathering of conservatives called “CPAC,” announced over the weekend that alt-Right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos would be this year’s keynote speaker.

Many criticized the move because Yiannopoulos is not seen as a traditional conservative — if a conservative at all. Instead, Yiannopoulos is seen as the figurehead of the alt-Right movement, a movement that prides itself in nationalism, which many accuse of racism and anti-Semitism.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor for the conservative magazine National Review who is seen as one of the conservative leaders in post-modern politics, said the move to include Yiannopoulos as the keynote speaker is “sad and disappointing.”

Still, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp defended the decision in comments to the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story about Yiannopoulos.

“An epidemic of speech suppression has taken over college campuses,” Schlapp told the news outlet. “Milo has exposed their liberal thuggery and we think free speech includes hearing Milo’s important perspective.”

Then on Sunday morning, less than one day after the controversial announcement about the CPAC speaker lineup, video surfaced of Yiannopoulos allegedly defending pedophilia in the past.

“We get hung up on this sort of child abuse stuff,” Yiannopoulos is heard saying in a video, acknowledging that he has a controversial point of view, “to the point where we are heavily policing consensual adults.”

“In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men — the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship — those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents,” he added.

“It sounds like molestation to me,” an unnamed person tells Yiannopoulos in reply, likely an interviewer. “It sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me.”

“But you know what? I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him,” Yiannopoulos replied, using a euphemism for male oral sex.

It doesn’t end there.

In an interview with comedian Joe Rogan in 2015, Yiannopoulos discussed his sexual relationship with “Father Michael,” which he allegedly had as a teenager at age 14.

During the interview, he even tried to normalize pedophilia.

“So you’re saying you’ve never seen a 15-year-old girl, at any point in your life, that you thought was hot?” Yiannopoulos asked.

“Yeah, when I was 15!” Rogan replied. “I’m not retarded dude.”

“No, when you were 25 or 30, you’ve never seen girls you thought were hot?” Yiannopoulos asked again.

“No, I thought they were little kids!” Rogan said.

Later, Rogan called “Father Michael” a “terrible person” for allegedly having a sexual relationship with Yiannopoulos when he was a young teenager, but Yiannopoulos tried to downplay it.

“It wasn’t molestation,” he alleged

“That’s absolutely molestation,” Rogan shot back.

Later in the interview, Yiannopoulos talked about a Hollywood party he went to years ago that had “very young boys” in attendance for sex.

Yiannopoulos has since responded to the allegations on Facebook Sunday afternoon denying them completely.

Yiannopoulos wrote:

There’s a video going around that purports to show me saying anti-semitic things (nope) and advocating for pedophilia (big nope). The shocking thing? It’s Republicans doing it. Sad to see establishment types collapse into the same tactics as social justice warriors: name calling, deceptively edited videos, confected moral outrage and public shaming. This is why they deserve to burn — and why they are burning. Here’s how I actually feel about pedophilia, which you’d know if you’d actually watched or read anything I’ve ever done. Or, you know, if you had two brain cells to rub together. There’s only one appropriate response to this sort of behavior, and it’s a gigantic F**K YOU!

In addition, it appears that the ACU board was not consulted about Yiannopoulos being named a speaker at this years CPAC, let alone the keynote.

“The ACU board was not consulted on this, nor was there a board vote,” Ned Ryun wrote on Twitter Saturday, who sits on the ACU board.

Last year’s keynote speaker was conservative radio host Glenn Beck, who many criticized in 2016 for being an outspoken critic of then-candidate Donald Trump. Beck didn’t support Trump because he didn’t think Trump was conservative enough.

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Milo Yiannopoulos’s Pedophilia Comments Cost Him CPAC Role and Book Deal

WASHINGTON — Milo Yiannopoulos, a polemical Breitbart editor and unapologetic defender of the alt-right, tested the limits of how far his provocations could go after the publication of a video in which he condones sexual relations with boys as young as 13 and laughs off the seriousness of pedophilia by Roman Catholic priests.

On Monday, the organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference rescinded their invitation for him to speak this week. Simon & Schuster said it was canceling publication of “Dangerous” after standing by him through weeks of criticism of the deal. And Breitbart itself was reportedly reconsidering his role amid calls online for it to sever ties with him.

Mr. Yiannopoulos’s comments, which quickly created an uproar online over the weekend, put many conservatives in a deeply uncomfortable position. They have long defended Mr. Yiannopoulos’s attention-seeking stunts and racially charged antics on the grounds that the left had tried to hypocritically censor his right to free speech.

But endorsing pedophilia, it seemed, was more than they could tolerate. The board of the American Conservative Union, which includes veterans of the conservative movement like Grover Norquist and Morton Blackwell, made the decision to revoke Mr. Yiannopoulos’s speaking slot and condemn his comments on Monday.

“We initially extended the invitation knowing that the free speech issue on college campuses is a battlefield where we need brave, conservative standard-bearers,” Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, said in a written statement.

Regarding Mr. Yiannopoulos’s comments, Mr. Schlapp called them “disturbing” and said Mr. Yiannopoulos’s explanation of them was insufficient.

Late Monday, Mr. Yiannopoulos said that he would hold a news conference on Tuesday to discuss his statements.

Mr. Yiannopoulos, who has railed against Muslims, immigrants, transgender people and women’s rights, is a marquee contributor to Breitbart News, where he serves as senior editor. He has amassed a fan base for his stunts and often-outrageous statements. But by Monday afternoon, his future at the website was being intensely debated by top management.

One Breitbart journalist, who requested anonymity to describe private deliberations, described divisions in the newsroom over whether Mr. Yiannopoulos could stay on. There was some consensus among staff members that his remarks were more extreme than his usual speech, the journalist said, and executives were discussing by telephone whether his apology was enough to preserve his position at the site.

A Breitbart representative declined to comment.

After the video was leaked on Twitter by a conservative group called the Reagan Battalion, Mr. Yiannopoulos denied that he had ever condoned child sexual abuse, noting that he was a victim himself. He blamed his “British sarcasm” and “deceptive editing” for leading to a misunderstanding.

But in the tape, the fast-talking polemicist is clear that he has no problem with older men abusing children as young as 13, which he then conflates with relationships between older and younger gay men who are of consenting age.

“No, no, no. You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means,” Mr. Yiannopoulos says on the tape, in which he is talking to radio hosts in a video chat. “Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty,” he adds, dismissing the fact that 13-year-olds are children.

The notion of consent, he says, is “arbitrary and oppressive.”

At one point in the video, an unknown speaker says that the behavior being defended by Mr. Yiannopoulos is akin to molestation by Catholic priests. Mr. Yiannopoulos responds, in an ironic tone, by crediting a priest for having helped develop his sexual technique.

Conservatives reacted with near unanimous disgust at the comments. Some expressed bewilderment that conference organizers would extend an invitation to Mr. Yiannopoulos in the first place, given his history of statements that have been offensive to blacks and Muslims, and have generally pushed the bounds of decency. Twitter has banned him.

“Colossal misjudgment,” Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, wrote on Twitter. “Now CPAC has put itself in the role of ‘censor.’ And for what? Some clicks and headlines?”

Until now, Mr. Yiannopoulos, a fervent supporter of President Trump, had emerged as something of a hero to many on the right, who saw in him an eager and willing combatant against a culture they believed was too politically correct. He became a star at Breitbart, the hard-right news outlet, and earned the admiration of Stephen K. Bannon, who was its publisher before becoming Mr. Trump’s chief White House strategist.

Mr. Yiannopoulos was just getting a foothold in the media. He recently appeared on the comedian Bill Maher’s HBO talk show, and aggressively taunted liberals without much pushback from the host. His book “Dangerous,” a free-speech manifesto and memoir that he sold in December to Threshold Editions, a conservative imprint within Simon & Schuster, had shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list, based on advance orders.

The publisher had encountered mounting criticism of its relationship with Mr. Yiannopoulos. The author Roxane Gay withdrew from her contract for a book with a Simon & Schuster imprint in protest.

The company stood by Mr. Yiannopoulos even as his planned lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, was canceled after rioting.

But in a terse statement late Monday, the publisher said it was canceling the book “after careful consideration.”

In a statement released through his agent, Mr. Yiannopoulos said: “The people whose views, concerns and fears I am articulating do not sip white wine and munch canapés in gilded salons. And they will not be defeated by the cocktail set running New York publishing. Nor will I.”

The decision is likely to be a costly one for Simon & Schuster, which may not be able to recover the portion of the reported $250,000 advance it had already paid to Mr. Yiannopoulos. “Dangerous” had sold just under 50,000 copies, according to his literary agent, Thomas Flannery Jr., who said he planned to find another publisher.

Correction: February 23, 2017
An article on Tuesday about the fallout from comments by the Breitbart editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos that seemed to condone sexual relations with boys overstated what is known about the cancellation of his planned lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, this month. The event was canceled after rioting occurred, not necessarily after students rioted. (While students may have been involved, no one has identified and interviewed every person involved in the riots, so their affiliations are not known.)

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Feature: Buddhism's pedophile monks

WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) -- Sex between clergymen and boys is by no means a uniquely Catholic phenomenon, a noted American scholar said Wednesday -- it's been going on in Buddhist monasteries in Asia for centuries.

"Of course, this is against the Buddhist canon," Leonard Zwilling of the University of Wisconsin in Madison told United Press International, "but it has been common in Tibet, China, Japan and elsewhere."

"In fact, when the Jesuits arrived in China and Japan in the 16th century, they were horrified by the formalized relationships between Buddhist monks and novices who were still children. These relationships clearly broke the celibacy rule," said Zwilling, who has written extensively about this topic for more than three decades, and was one of the first to do so.

Zwilling, who holds a doctoral degree in Buddhist studies said in a telephone interview this practice continued until well into 20th century.

Although the Buddha clearly proscribed sex of any kind in monasteries, "we know of incidents where members of the Bob-Dob, an order enforcing discipline among Tibetan monks, fought each other over boys," continued Zwilling.

"They clobbered each other with huge keys that were the tools of their trade. We also know that generations of Dalai Lamas had their 'favorites,' although we have no proof that these relationships were sexual."

Other studies show that Buddhist monks in Japan practiced a non-sexual form of "pedophilia" as long ago as the 10th century, according to Minnesota-based Ralph Underwager, a pastor, psychologist and one of the world's leading experts on child abuse.

In an interview with Paidika, a scholarly journal specializing in the phenomenon, Underwager and his associate Hollida Wakefield pointed out that "the concept of Platonic love as an asexual affection is describing pedophilia."

Underwager and Wakefield explained that the Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, Sophocles, Aristotle, the playwright Aristophanes and the statesman-soldier Alcibiades "all claimed that love motivated pedophilia."

But if they did, it wasn't in the sense of sex.

According to Zwilling, monks having engaged in "sex with penetration and ejaculation" face expulsion from the Sangha, the monastic order that along with the Buddha and the Dharma (teaching) is part of Buddhism's three-fold refuge.

"This is true whether a monk has broken his vow of chastity with a woman, a man or a child," Zwilling said. "The punishment will be less severe if there were no penetration or ejaculation."

In that case, the offender would only be disciplined, perhaps demoted in rank, but not evicted from the monastery, the scholar explained.

"Actually, pedophilia is hardly mentioned in Buddhism's canonical writings," he went on. "I have only come across one passage describing the fate of a man who loved boys. He went to hell and came to a river filled with acid -- and boys swimming it. They were in agony.

"Out of his love for the children, the man jumped in -- and had to suffer their pain."

Peter A. Jackson, a renowned Australian researcher on Buddhism, has pointed out that in this faith all forms of sexuality and desire must be transcended in order to attain the religious goal of the extinction of suffering.

Citing the Vinaya, Theravada Buddhism's monastic code of conduct, Jackson wrote, "Whichever monk has sexual intercourse is ... a defeated one, and will not find communion (in the Sangha)."

The Vinaya is very explicit in condemning sexual misconduct, including auto-sodomy (one of its chapters is titled, "The Case of the Monk with a Long Penis"). It does not single out homosexuality, though, which is treated as a third gender in ancient Buddhist writings, said Zwilling.

However, the Vinaya does relate that already some 2,500 years ago, the outrageous behavior of one "pandaka" (homosexual, in Pali, the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism), has prompted the Buddha to ban the ordination of such men.

The story reads thus:

"The pandaka had been ordained in a residence of monks. He went to the young monks and encouraged them thus, 'Come all of you and assault me.'

"The monks spoke aggressively, 'Pandaka, you will surely be ... spiritually destroyed. Of what benefit will it be?" ... He went to some large, stout novices and encouraged them thus, 'Come all of you and assault me.'

The novices spoke, 'Pandaka, you will surely be destroyed. Of what benefit will it be?'

"The pandaka then went to men who tend elephants and horses and spoke to them thus. 'Come all of you and assault me.' The men who tend elephants and horses assaulted him.

"The Blessed One then ordered the monks, 'Behold monks, a pandaka is one who is not to be ordained, ... and (pandakas) who have already been ordained must be made to disrobe.'"

According to Zwilling, homosexual behavior may not land a Buddhist layman in hell. That kind of fate is reserved for adulterers and rapists. On the other hand, a homosexual orientation is an extended form of punishment for those who in a previous life have committed such sins.

Prasok, a celebrated Thai newspaper columnist writing on Buddhism, related that this was the fate of the Buddha's personal attendant, Phra Ananda.

Wrote Prasok, "The reason he was born a kathoey (Thai for homosexual) was because in a previous life he had committed the sin of adultery. This led him to stew in hell for tens of thousands of years.

"After he was freed from hell, a portion of his old karma still remained and led him to being reborn as kathoey for many hundreds of lives."

While this may sound a rather severe punishment for a sexual transgression, Buddhism may have something even worse in store for an unfaithful husband, Zwilling told UPI: "He could be reborn as a woman."

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American School in Japan told pedophile teacher abused girls for decades, Portland firm says

Portland attorneys representing 10 women who say they were sexually abused by a notorious pedophile teacher at the American School in Japan in the 1970s and '80s sent a demand letter Thursday to the prestigious Tokyo school, claiming the school ignored reports that the teacher was preying on girls for decades.

The letter claims the American School allowed teacher Jack Moyer to have unfettered access to his victims, middle-school girls, including one who now lives in central Oregon. For more than a century, the school has been attended by the children of leaders of U.S. businesses including Nike and Boeing, government officials and missionaries working in Japan.

The school couldn’t immediately be reached for comment for this story.

The Portland firm of O’Donnell Clark and Crew sent the letter. Attorney Steve Crew said the first victim he’s been able to identify told school administration in 1975 that Moyer had abused her.

“She reported it to the headmaster, and nothing happened,” Crew said. “And that was the pattern for 25 years.”

Crew said many of the 10 victims or their families reported Moyer’s alleged sexual abuse to the school, but he was allowed to continue working with children.

Moyer worked for the school from 1963 to 2000, according to the firm, and retired in 2000. He killed himself in 2004.

That was a short while after two of the 10 women confronted Moyer in emails, Crew said. Crew said Moyer wrote them back, admitted the abuse and sent them a list of the names of 11 or 12 victims, with brief descriptions of how he abused them.

According to an article in The Japan Times, in March the school sent a letter to alumni stating it had recently learned Moyer had abused students. That drew sharp criticism from some alumni, who petitioned the school to hire an independent party to investigate whether the school covered up its knowledge of the reported abuse.

The school has hired a law firm to perform an independent investigation, according to Crew’s firm.

The letter sent to the American School demands that the results of the independent investigation be made public. The letter also asks the school to compensate the 10 women and an undetermined number of other alleged victims, but the letter doesn't list a dollar amount sought.

If a lawsuit is filed, Crew said it will most likely be in New Jersey, where the American School in Japan has a “sister corporation” called Friends of the American School in Japan.

Former students who say they were victimized have reached out to each other -- particularly after former student, Janet Simmons, began writing in 2009 about Moyer in a blog titled “Thank you for holding my hand.”

Crew said nine or 10 of the women his firm represents have all been supporting each other through an email network over the past few months or years.

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