A WOMEN’S rights activist from Iran has told how she fled the country after a video of her throwing stones at a picture of its Supreme Leader went viral.
“Mina” was speaking at a meeting of the Henley Women’s Network at Leander Club on Friday.
Fifty-four women, including Henley Mayor Kellie Hinton, attended the event.
Mina, 40, joined protests which broke out in Iran last year after
22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the “morality police” after allegedly violating Iran’s mandatory headscarf law.
She told how she was arrested by the regime for her role in the Woman, Life, Freedom movement, which was sparked by Amini’s death.
Speaking through a translator, she said: “I couldn’t stay at home and close my eyes to these things. This young generation, they are very brave. You find it very hard when you see the young generation out on the street.”
She was recorded by police cameras standing on a car and throwing stones at an image of the country’s head of state, Ali Khamenei.
She was arrested and subjected to 12 hours of interrogation daily for 35 days. Despite death threats against her and her family, she refused to go on television and “confess”.
Eventually, she was blindfolded and thrown off th second floor of the prison but survived her injuries and was taken to hospital where one of her former students, who was working there, saw her and told her family where she was.
Mina was sentenced to 85 lashes and 11 years in prison but fled the country with her brother, Madhi, who had also taken part in the protests.
She left without being able to say goodbye to her 12-year-old daughter, Taranom.
Mina, who is currently applying for asylum in Britain, said: “Thank you to people in England. It’s very bad there for us. I was in a bad condition but people in England help you so much. I’m feeling so good after our meeting today.
“I wanted to fight to bring freedom for Iranian women. I hope my country will soon be free. I hope to go home.”
Angela McDowall, an executive PA who is a member of the network, said: “It’s a great reminder of how we take our freedom for granted. It brought home how we should appreciate every moment of it and how we need to use every opportunity we have to use our freedom for good.”
The Mayor said: “I’m really grateful that Mina was able to come to Henley and share her story.”
Harriet Barcella, a life coach who organises the network, said: “Mina’s story was the last in a year of extraordinary guest speakers that we have hosted.
“From the outset we wanted to provide a space for inspiring stories to spark great conversations and genuine connection in a warm and supportive environment.
“It felt like Mina’s story really epitomised everything we have set out to achieve and it was a huge privilege to give her a platform.
“On a personal level, hearing her story of bravery, resilience and activism was deeply moving and inspiring — it will stay with me for a very long time.”
Mina is currently being supported by Care4Calais while her asylum claim is being processed.
Source » henleystandard