UPDATE: (3 November 2008) On 7 October 2008, Zaynab Bayazidi’s appeal sentence of four years in prison was communicated to her lawyer, Mehdi Hujjati. Bayazidi is currently being held in Mehabad prison in western Azerbaijan.
Zaynab Bayazidi (26) is a computer science graduate who was requested to show up for an interview at the Intelligence Office in Mehabad intelligence on 7 July 2008, an interview that lasted two or three hours. Zaynab was told to appear in court on 9 July 2008 at 9:00 to be arrested.
For 23 days after her arrest, there was no word as to Zaynab’s charges or conditions in prison. She was finally given word as to her charges and learned that they all pertained to her human rights endeavors. She was charged with being a member of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, spearheading a campaign to obtain 1 million signatures in support of changing discriminatory laws against women, and being a member of and associated with a non-governmental women’s organization. The Lower Court issued a sentence of four years of imprisonment in exile on 10 August 2008.
According to Iranian law, a defendant must submit an appeal within 20 days of being sentenced, and a judgment cannot be issued in a case until those 20 days have passed. Zaynab Bayazidi attempted to protest and appeal her sentence but a rushed sentence by the courts was issued on 21 August 2008, only 11 days after her sentencing.
Her lawyer, Dr. Hojati, went to the Appeals Court on behalf of the defendant but was told that Ms. Bayazidi had already appeared in person and a decision had been reached. Such actions by the Judiciary are in violation of Iranian law and of Zaynab Bayazidi’s rights.