Women’s Rights Activist Sentenced to Five Years
Arrest, Trial and Verdict should be Investigated
(21 June 2008) Hana Abdi, a student and women’s rights activist from Sanandaj in Kurdistan who has been in prison since 4 November 2007, was sentenced on 18 June 2008 by Judge Tayari in Branch Two of the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court to a prison term of five years in exile in East Azerbaijan on charges of “gathering and collusion to threaten national security” under article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code.
Abdi had been volunteering in the framework of the One Million Signatures Campaign at the time of her arrest. The trial of her colleague, Ronak Safazadeh, who has also been in prison since November 2007, is pending.“No one can accept that Hana Abdi’s trial was anything other than a farce,” the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran stated. “Hana Abdi was tried and convicted on trumped-up security charges apparently to punish her for her peaceful and legal work on behalf of equal rights, and to deter others from exercising their rights.”
According to her lawyer, Mohammad Sharif, Abdi was given the maximum sentence possible. The conviction was based solely on interrogations by Intelligence Ministry officials during her incarceration, during which she was held in solitary confinement for two months. The Campaign has received reports that Abdi has been tortured. Sharif told the Campaign that he had been denied access to his client during the interrogation process and that the judge had refused even to consider his defense, referring only to interrogation reports. He plans to file an appeal.
“Talking about human rights is not a crime in Iran,” the Campaign stated. “If a law-abiding 21-year old student can be arrested and convicted of such serious crimes with no evidence having been provided and without benefit of a legal defense, then no Rule of Law exists in Iran, and no Iranian citizen is secure.”
The Campaign also expressed its serious concern for Ronak Safazadeh who is charged with the serious crime of “Moharebeh,” meaning armed activity against the state and is punishable by death penalty. The charges against her are also solely based on interrogations during her solitary confinement.
The Campaign called on head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, to immediately intervene in these cases and initiate an independent investigation into prosecution of Abdi and Safazadeh.