Women Prisoners: Maryam Zia Released, Eghdamdoust Gets New Case
Women’s and children’s rights activist Maryam Zia was released after three months in prison, after going on a hunger strike and being taken to the prison hospital. Zia’s sister confirmed her release, telling the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Zia’s condition deteriorated during her 13-day hunger strike and a judge agreed to release her.
A few days before the Iranian New Year, Zia’s family presented a deed in excess of her bail amount of $30,000, but her interrogators intervened and added a new indictment to her case. Her sister, Masoumeh Zia, described her psychological state as good, but emphasized that her sister needs medical attention.
Maryam Zia, a women’s rights activist and director of a children’s rights group, was arrested on 31 December 2009, during widespread post-Ashura arrests by security forces. She was previously arrested on 12 June 2006, during a protest of unequal laws in Tehran’s Haft-Tir Square.
Hengameh Shahidi’s Attorney: Acquit My Client
Journalist Hengameh Shahidi remains imprisoned in Evin prison’s ward 209. She is being held in a cell with Shiva Nazarahari and a teacher. Shahidi was arrested last June and released after four months. On 25 February 2009, when appearing at the Ministry of Intelligence, she was served with a court ruling for six years’ imprisonment and was immediately transferred to Evin prison.
Mohammad Mostafaee, Shahidi’s attorney, said that there are many irregularities in her case. He said he presented authorities with a request for a review of her case, asking that the verdict be reconsidered and his client released.
One Million Signatures Campaign Member Dorsa Sobhani Remains in Limbo In Prison
Security and judicial authorities continue to refuse providing any explanations about Dorsa Sobhani’s continued detention. Sobhani is a students’ rights activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign in Sari. She is deprived from continuing her education because she is a Baha’i and has been in prison since 7 March 2010, and has only met with her family once on 21 March 2010. Sobhani’s home was stormed by security forces on 2 March 2010, and after searching the premises, authorities confiscated her personal effects. Also, Sobhani’s father was attacked by six security officers on 4 March 2010, in front of his home and was interrogated for 4 hours.
Alieh Eghdamdoust gets new charges and is transferred to solitary confinement
While having new charges brought against her for actions in prison, Alieh Eghdamdoust has been transferred to solitary confinement for a week. The Change for Equality web site reported that Eghdamdoust was summoned by an Evin prison judge after she recited the events of March 8 (International Women’s Day) in the women’s ward of Evin prison. Her new charges are “reciting an article and speech among the women and creating incitement about women’s activities, negative propagation against the regime, insulting the President and the Supreme Leader, and propagation of socialism.” After spending a week in solitary confinement, she was summoned to Branch 2 of the Court inside Evin prison with Judge Abdi presiding, where her charges of “propagation of socialism and insulting the Supreme Leader and President” were read to her again. Eghdamdoust did not accept the charges during her defense.
Alieh Eghdamdoust has been deprived from access to a lawyer or telephone contact with her family and lawyer. Since December 2008, she has been serving a three-year prison term at Evin prison after she participated in a gathering to protest discriminatory laws on 12 June 2006.
Trial and One Year Prison Sentence for Sama Bahmani
The judge in Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Mahabad has found human rights activist Sama Bahmani guilty and sentenced her to one year in prison. Bahmani is a member of the Human Rights Activists Organization. She was sentenced to six months in prison for her “membership in the Iranian Human Rights Activists Organization,” and six months for “propagation against the regime.” Bahmani was arrested by Mahabad security forces on February 2, 2010. Originally from Bandar Abbas, she was arrested along with her husband earlier last August after she attempted to compile a report of violations of human rights in the Kurdistan region and for supporting Farzad Kamangar. The Sanandaj Revolutionary Courts had issued a suspended sentence of three years in prison for Bahmani on charges of “propagation against the regime,” and “membership in Iran’s Human Rights Organization.” Her sentence ruling also contained orders barring her from “traveling to Iran’s Kurdistan region” and “contacting people with prison records for their political activities.” After the new sentence is confirmed, her earlier suspended sentence will also be sent to Sanandaj Revolutionary Courts for commencement. In an illegal move, the Mahabad judge who has convicted Bahmani in her new case has re-tried Sama Bahmani on charges for which she has already been tried and sentenced.
Continued Detention and Lack of Information about Laleh Hassanpour and Mahboubeh Karami
Mahboubeh Karami continues to remain in prison without knowing her charges. A member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Karami has been in prison since March 2, 2010 after her home was searched and her personal effects were confiscated. The women’s rights activist called her family from prison, telling them that she has not been informed of her charges and she doesn’t know why she is in detention. Her brother, Mohsen Karami, has been unsuccessful in pursuing her case. Last year, also, Mahboubeh Karami spent the Iranian New Year holidays in prison when she was arrested and detained for 13 days after she and 11 other Campaign and Mothers of Peace members visited families of prisoners. Her charge at the time was “disruption in public order.” This is the sixth time Mahboubeh Karami has been imprisoned on similar charges and in all her previous cases, she has been exonerated of her charges.
Author and women’s rights activist Laleh Hassanpour remains in prison after her March 16, 2010, arrest after security forces stormed her home. The Human Rights Activists Organization announced in a March 28 statement that Laleh Hassanpour is on a hunger strike to protest her continued detention.
It seems Mahboubeh Karami and Laleh Hassanpour’s detentions are a part of the new scenario from Iran’s security authorities to confront Iranian human rights activists. For the past month, pro-government media have been attacking Iranian human rights activists, while many activists have been arrested.