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Golriz Ghahraman: Iranian-origin New Zealand MP quits after caught shoplifting

Courtesy: Geo News

Golriz Ghahraman has not been charged with any crime, but she acknowledged that her actions did not meet expectations

New Zealand Member of Parliament Golriz Ghahraman, affiliated with the Green Party, has tendered her resignation following allegations of shoplifting, prompting police investigation.

According to BBC News the former UN human rights lawyer, who made history as the country’s first refugee in government in 2017, faced accusations of theft from two clothing stores in Auckland and Wellington.

CCTV footage surfaced, allegedly showing Ghahraman taking a designer handbag from an Auckland boutique. While she has not been charged with any crime, the 42-year-old MP acknowledged that her actions did not meet the expected standards of behaviour for elected representatives and expressed remorse.

Ghahraman attributed her behaviour to work-related stress, stating, “I have let down a lot of people, and I am very sorry.” She revealed that her recent actions were inconsistent with rational behaviour, and a mental health evaluation indicated that she was not well. Ghahraman emphasised that she did not intend to offer excuses for her actions.

In response to her resignation, Green Party co-leader James Shaw highlighted the relentless threats Ghahraman faced, including sexual violence, physical violence, and death threats since her election to Parliament.

Stressful circumstances, exacerbated by continuous police investigations into these threats, may have contributed to the consequences of her actions.

Ghahraman has previously spoken out about the abuse she endured based on her Iranian heritage, gender, and public stances on various issues.

Threats compelled her to carry a security alarm and have security escorts back and forth from Parliament. In 2017, she received an escort due to threats from white supremacists.

Despite criticism for her involvement in pro-Palestinian protests and her stance on Israel’s military actions, Ghahraman’s resignation is attributed to the intersection of stress and trauma.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson acknowledged Ghahraman’s distress, asserting continued support while addressing broader issues of the treatment of women with public profiles, especially women of color.

1- Header image: Former New Zealand Green MP Golriz Ghahraman.—X@golrizghahraman

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