New Wave of Detentions, Summons, and Trials Targets Women’s Rights Activists
(29 February 2008) The Iranian government has intensified its prosecution of women’s rights activists. During the past week, two activists were detained, two summoned to court, and two others put on trial.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran is concerned that the new wave of detentions, summonses, and prosecutions are aimed at intimidating women’s rights activists on the approach of International Women’s Day on March 8.
On February 14, 2008, security forces detained two women’s rights activists, Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi, in Tehran’s Daneshjoo Park. The two activists were collecting signatures in support of a petition by the One Million Signature Campaign to protest gender discrimination in Iranian laws. The authorities charged them with “propaganda against the state.” They are currently held in Evin prison. The Judiciary has demanded bail in the amount of 200 million Rials ($22,000), but their families are not able to post such heavy bail. Asgarizadeh is a graphic artist and Khosravi is a documentary film maker. On February 26, 2008, the authorities released Asgarizadeh and Khosravi, after reducing their bail amount to 10 million Rials ($1,100). They are now waiting for their trial.
On February 24, 2008, the special security branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran summoned another Campaign activist, Maryam Hosseinkhah. She had been detained on November 18, 2007 and charged with “acting against national security.” After 45 days in detention, she was released after posting bail.
On the same day, in two separate trials, two other women’s rights activists were prosecuted. Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court convened a trail for Amir Yaghoobali on charges of “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” Yaghoobali, detained on July 11, 2007 as he was collecting signatures in Tehran’s Andisheh Park, was released on bail after 28 days in solitary confinement.
Branch 13 of the Revolutionary Court put Shahla Entesari on trial on charges stemming from her participation in a gathering to protest prosecution of four other women’s rights activists on March 4, 2007.
In another development, Parvin Ardalan, a prominent women’s rights activist, received a summons from the Judiciary on February 21, 2008. Ardalan was awarded the prestigious Olof Palme Prize in recognition of her work promoting women’s rights just a week before, on February 14. She reported to the special security branch of the Revolutionary Court on February 25, to answer the summons. She was told the magistrate who issued the summons was not available.
For a comprehensive report on persecution and prosecution of women’s rights activists working to promote the One Million Signature Campaign see http://www.we4change.info/english/spip.php?article225.