Serious concern over arrest of 12 Women’s Rights Activists in Iran

Iran: Twelve Women’s Rights Activists Arrested for Planned New Years Visit

Ten of those arrested are members of the One Million Signatures Campaign. The activists were arrested on 26 March 2009, on Sohrevardi Avenue in Tehran, while meeting up to go for New Years visits of families of imprisoned social and political activists. (Change for Equality http://www.campaign4equality.info/english/)

The Campaign members arrested are: Delaram Ali, Leila Nazari, Khadijeh Moghaddam, Farkhondeh Ehtesabian, Mahboubeh Karami, Baharah Behravan, Ali Abdi, Amir Rashidi, Mohammad Shourab, and Arash Nasiri Eghbali. Also Soraya Yousefi and Shahla Forouzanfar were also arrested. According to reports from family members of those arrested, these women’s rights activists were first transferred to Niloofar Police Station, then some were taken to Galoobandak Police Station, and later all were transferred to Evin Prison. Currently all these women’s rights activists are being detained at Evin prison’s general ward for female inmates.

According to reports from family members who were present outside the police stations and who had a few minutes to talk to those arrested, these women’s rights activists are facing two charges, including: disruption of public opinion and disruption of public order. Additionally a bail order for a third party guarantee by a government employee has been issued for these women’s rights activists in the amount of 50 million Tomans (roughly $50,000).

Iranian authorities should immediately release a dozen women’s rights activists detained arbitrarily in Tehran today, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran http://www.iranhumanrights.org/themes/news/single-news/article/womens-rights-activists-arbitrarily-detained-preventing-new-year-visits.html said. “The paranoia and intolerance of the intelligence agencies have reached unbelievable proportions. There is no justification whatsoever to deny activists their rights to visit each other during New Year celebrations,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s spokesperson.

“We are seriously concerned about the fate of detainees and the absolute lack of transparency and due process demonstrated by this case. For what crime are they being held? Is observing New Year traditions now a crime in Iran? The Iranian leaders should step forward and explain why intelligence agents are given free reign to deprive citizens of their most basic rights,” Ghaemi said.

http://www.wluml.org/english/newsfulltxt.shtml?cmd[157]=x-157-564089

Update: Ten Women’s Rights Activists Released, Two Remain in Detention

Ten of the twelve women’s rights activists detained last week as they were planning private New Year visits have been released on bail. Two of them however, Khadijeh Moghadam and Mahboubeh Karami, remain in Evin prison.

The ten activists were released after judiciary officials set bail for them in the amount of 50 million toman ($50,000) that had to be posted by a government employee as a third-party guarantee.

The authorities refused to accept bail posted by Moghadam and Karami, without explanation. Those released have to report for interrogations on Sunday, 5 April. They have been charged with “disturbing public opinion” and “disruption of public order,” and a judicial case has been initiated based on these charges.

The Campaign called on the Iranian authorities to immediately release Moghadam and Karami, noting that there is no legal justification for these detentions.

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