As ever, I’ve edited the quotes below to respect Ms Kolestani’s self-identification – my amendments are in [square brackets].
[Nastaran] Kolestani, 42, must serve at least 18 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.
Kolestani […] was sentenced Friday in 5th District Court.
She pleaded guilty in June to first-degree murder in the August 2008 killing of 29-year-old Ehsan Velayati Kababian, also an Iranian refugee.
Shemshat Muhammedberdiyena, a friend of Kolestani and Kababian, told the newspaper that Kababian’s plans to leave to be with a woman in Iran sent Kolestani into a murderous rage.
(Via The Olympian)
That last quote gives a revealing insight into the law’s attitudes. If Ms Kolestani was truly in “a murderous rage” when she shot Ehsan Kababian, it’s a bit of a surprise that her defense team didn’t try the so-called ‘crime of passion’ argument. It could have been a test case to see if a mirror image of the trans panic defense might perhaps be acceptable for trans people to use when they’ve been ‘deceived’ by cis people. Who knows, a whole new ‘cis panic’ defense might have come into being.
Anyway. Flippancy aside – and my paragraph above was flippant – my main concern about the outcome of this case was in connection with the human rights abuses to which Ms Kolestani has been subjected.
The abuses meted out to [Nastaran] Kolestani in particular seemed like a string of human rights abuses: police officers alleged that Ms Kolestani was guilty of first-degree murder as well as denied her access to prescribed hormone therapies. They even refused to supply her with a bra – given that Ms Kolestani has been undergoing hormone therapy for over five years, this seems like an especially vindictive and small-minded punishment by the prison authorities, who were well aware of her gender identity.
(Via Bird of Paradox)
It’s unclear from any of the three news reports I linked whether Ms Kolestani is still being refused her prescribed medications and gender-appropriate clothing, although according to KMVT11:
Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs says that Kolestani will not be able to be housed with either the general male or female inmate population.
Which suggests solitary confinement – which in turn smacks of victim-blaming. I can just hear the prison officials: “Oh we wouldn’t have to do this if you weren’t trans”. Cis people piss me right off sometimes.
I send good wishes to Nastaran – she confessed to the crime and now must do the time, I accept that – I only hope that she is treated with at least a basic humanity and dignity over the course of the next 18 years, and that she can find the inner strength to get through this.
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