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Mr. Speaker, the women of Iran are inspiring people around the world leading in the cause and fight for freedom. They have taken to the streets by the thousands because of the fraudulent government elections and repressive government subjugation. They are giving even men courage to protest. The New York Times ran an eyewitness report saying, "For days now, I've seen women urging less courageous men on. I've seen them get beaten and return to the fray." Women shout at the men to "Get up. Get up. Speak out against government oppression."
Untold numbers of Iranian women have been arrested. Shadi Sadr is a journalist, lawyer, and a human rights activist. She was last seen Friday, July 17, on her way to prayer. She was seen struggling with government henchmen as they beat her and dragged her into a car.
Shadi managed to break away for a few moments, but she was chased down, beaten with batons and taken to prison in Tehran to keep her voice silent. She is jailed this very night as we assemble here in this cradle of liberty. What's the charge? What's her crime? Seeking freedom and respect seem to be her crimes. And by any means necessary, the black-booted government thugs want to silence those who exercise the first human right of freedom--and that being the freedom to speak out against oppression.
As a lawyer, Shadi represents Iranian activists and journalists. She has won cases for several women sentenced to be executed for violations of religious laws, and those convictions have been overturned. She is also involved in Women's Field, a group defending women's rights in Iran, including the ``Stop Stoning Forever'' campaign.
Mr. Speaker, women are tragically stoned to death for religious violations in Iran, for acts that aren't even crimes in civilized countries. They are buried up to their waist with their hands tied behind their backs, then a mob throws stones at them until they're dead. And sometimes it takes more than an hour to die. These violent, barbaric acts are to be condemned by those who value life and liberty.
For the first time in a Presidential campaign in Iran, women made their oppression an issue in the election. Women courageously confronted their oppressors demanding freedom.
One Iranian woman said, ``When the elections were stolen, women felt betrayed. They took to the streets. Images of security forces beating up unarmed, innocent women were shocking and fueled their anger. At times, the number of women exceeded those of men in the protest.''
One protester told reporters, "We don't sit in the corner and wait for the men to make change. We do it. We are the mothers of Iran."
You see, Mr. Speaker, women in Iran have been fighting for dignity and respect for over 30 years. Mr. Speaker, these mothers of Iran have true courage, the kind of courage that comes from standing for truth over government lies. The kind of courage that comes from fighting for freedom against tyranny.
It's been said "Tyranny is when the people fear the government. Freedom is when the government fears the people." And now, the government of Iran has begun to fear these ladies of liberty.
The women of Iran have shown their courage to the world. They speak with one bold voice saying "NO MORE". They will not be silenced because truthful, righteous words cannot long be silenced by the stones of oppressio