Tunisians demand change to Muslim marriage decree

(REUTERS)
Updated 28 March 2017

Tunisians demand change to Muslim marriage decree

TUNIS: An alliance of Tunisian human rights groups on Monday called on authorities to scrap a 1973 decree that bans Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims.
The alliance of some 60 groups signed a statement calling for the decree to be revoked, saying it undermines “a fundamental human right: which is the right to choose a spouse.”
Sana Ben Achour, president of the Beity association, told a news conference “it is inadmissible today for a simple decree, which has almost no judicial value... to command the lives of thousands.”
The decree issued in 1973 by the justice ministry stipulates that a non-Muslim man who wishes to marry a Tunisia woman must convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.
Wahid Ferchichi, of the Adli association for the defense of individual liberties, said the decree violates Tunisia’s constitution which promotes equality between all citizens, regardless of gender.
The coalition said it would mount a campaign to mobilize public opinion and seek meetings with the ministers of justice, interior and the head of government, hoping the decree will be scrapped by November.
Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women’s rights.
The North African country and birthplace of Arab Spring protests that ousted several regional autocratic, adopted a new constitution in 2014 which guarantees equality between men and women.
Article 21 of the constitution states: “All citizens, male and female, have equal rights and duties, and are equal before the law without any discrimination.”
But discrimination against women in Tunisia remains rife, particularly in matters of inheritance and the country’s Code of Personal Status designates the man as the head of a family. 


Outspoken Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo arrested in Turkey

Updated 54 sec ago

Outspoken Iranian rapper Amir Tataloo arrested in Turkey

  • Tataloo was preparing to travel to the UK when he was detained, reportedly at the request of Iran
  • Fans and colleagues fear for much-loved musician’s safety if sent back to Iran

LONDON: Amir Tataloo, one of the most popular Iranians on social media and outspoken critic of the regime in Tehran, was arrested on Tuesday as he prepared to leave for the UK.

The rapper, whose real name is Amirhossein Maghsoodloo, was detained in Turkey where he had been living to pursue his career in music. Reports said the arrest was at Iran’s request.

Tataloo, who has performed for the BBC, is a long-standing opponent of Iran’s ruling mullahs and has denounced the establishment for not licencing his music, which Iran deems “Western, non-Iranian and immoral.”

He has been arrested in Iran multiple times for his lyrics, which spoke out against the government’s human rights abuses and restrictions on press freedom.

Iran International TV channel reported that Turkish authorities are currently working to facilitate Tataloo’s extradition to Iran, prompting fears for his safety from colleagues and fans.

A fan-made petition advocating for his release had already garnered more than 15,000 signatures.

The administrator of Tataloo’s social media accounts, known as Ronak, warned that “if Amir is handed over to Iranian police, it is unclear what is going to happen.”

She said: “Think you wake up today and think that from tomorrow you will go to a European country after years of pain… but instead they touch you and want to bring you back to the same country where your life has always been in danger.”

Tara Sepehri Far, Iran Researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Arab News that Tataloo has been harassed by authorities repeatedly, and that his “story of past persecution for artistic activities is very concerning right now.” 

Tataloo could “face a real threat of persecution or torture” if returned to Iran.

Even more worrying though, she said, is the way Iranian media is treating the arrest.

Far told Arab News that Iran is using this as an opportunity to “show that they’re capable of bringing people back to Iran.

“They’re using it as a propaganda tool and as leverage to show that Iran can project power beyond its borders.”

Tataloo has more than 3.2 million followers on Instagram and 1.25 million on Facebook.

The arrest comes at a time of heightened civil unrest within Iran, which has been wracked by months of anti-government protests.