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Iran: The Story of Leila

Leila
Crossing Continents
Thursday, 29 November 2007
At 1102 GMT on BBC Radio 4

Sold into prostitution aged 9, then saved from the hangman's noose at18, Leila tells her life story for the first time. Her life provides a rare insight into Iran's underbelly and is a tribute to the brave army of women fighting for human rights - with results.

Today Leila is 22. She is being taken care of at private day centre for girls in Tehran, the Omid e Mehr, which means Hope. It is a beacon of light on a landscape which offers little compassion to abused and destitute young women.

The day centre, which relies on private donations, is paying for Leila's accommodation and a full-time carer.

Leila tells her life story to a psycho-therapist, Marjaneh Halati. Leila has allowed it to be recorded by an Iranian filmmaker, Hamid Rahmanian, who has given Crossing Continents exclusive access to his work.

The Iranian lawyer, Shadi Sadr, talks about her battle to save Leila's life. She describes what human rights lawyers are up against in a country where stoning and amputation are common and where 177 people were executed last year.

BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents was broadcast on Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 1102 GMT. It was repeated on Monday, 3 December 2007 at 2030 GMT.

Reporter and Producer: Julia Rooke
Associate Producer: Hamid Rahmanian, Iranian filmmaker

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SEE ALSO
Iranian child victim of prostitution
29 Nov 07 |  Crossing Continents
Country profile: Iran
09 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

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