Woman doctor beaten to death in Iran for “morality offence”

A young woman doctor has been arrested and allegedly beaten to death in Iran as part of an increasingly violent crackdown by the country’s hard-line clerical regime. Zahra Bani Yaghoub, 27, died after being arrested in the city of Hamedan, west of Tehran, for walking in public with a man who wasn’t her husband or a relative.

The case has caused outrage among human rights activists, who say that scores of people – mainly women – have been incarcerated as part of a government “morality” blitz. It will also fuel speculation that the government of Preisdent Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is tightening its social controls to eliminate the risk of an uprising, ahead of possible conflict with the West over his nuclear ambitions.

Doctor Yaghoub died after being beaten in a cell after she accused guards of being heavy-handed, said Parvin Ardalan, a women’s rights campaigner. About 60 campaigners were held after a protest was broken up by armed police, according to the human rights group Front Line.

30 November 2007