This year, International Women’s Day was marked by the attack, arrest
and detention of women's rights defenders in front of Tehran's
Revolutionary Court. On Sunday March 4th, thirty three women were
arrested following a peaceful demonstration. Thirty of them were released within a few days, but three
women— Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh, and Jila Baniyaghoub— were
held for over two weeks in ward 209 of Evin Prison (run by the Ministry of Intelligence of the
Islamic Republic of Iran, designated primarily for political
prisoners). The reason for their detention was drafting a statement that
called for the gathering.
On Sunday March 4, 2007, women’s right defenders gathered in front of
the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to protest the court proceedings of
Nooshin Amhadi Khorasani, Parvin Ardalan, Shahla Entesari, Susan
Tahmasebi, and Fariba Davoodi Mohajer—five prominent members of Iranian
women's organizations who were arrested in pervious peaceful gatherings.
As indicated by the women’s right activists and their legal teams the
charges are in violation of the article 27 of the Constitution of
Islamic Republic of Iran, which guarantees the citizens’ right to
assemble peacefully. In violation of such right, the security police
forces attacked the women’s legal and peaceful gathering and arrested
On March 5, fifty family members and friends of detainees gathered in
front of the main entrance of Evin prison to protest the illegal arrests
of their loved ones and to demand their immediate release. Consequently,
prison authorities declared that Evin prison does not have the authority
to release the detainees, as they are kept in ward 209, which is
monitored and supervised by the Ministry of Intelligence.
In the following days, two groups of women were released from prison.
This morning, at around 2:00 am, another group of fifteen women were
released. It seems the reason for keeping the three women in detention
is that they have accepted full responsibility for drafting the call for
the gathering that took place on March 4.
Many international human rights and women organizations and prominent
figures including Iranian political and social activists, lawyers,
writers, journalists, and academics denounced the arrest of the women’s
rights advocates demanding their immediate and unconditional release,
including Louise Arbor, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Irene
Khan, Amnesty International General Secretary, Human Rights Watch, Human
Rights First, Women Living Under Muslim Laws, Women’s Initiative for
Gender Justice and the Observatory.
The Campaign to Free Women Rights Defenders in Iran
This campaign was launched immediately after the arrest of women
activists by a group of transnational activists. For more information
about the campaign and the complete list of supporters, please visit the
Contacts For Updated and Detailed Information:
The Free Women’s Rights Defenders in Iran Campaign coordinators are
ready to provide detailed information about the status of women detainees.
The coordinators are willing to put reporters and news agencies in touch
with the families and lawyers of the women in custody. The campaign
coordinators can be contacted by phone or email.
Soheila Vahdati, email@example.com
Sanam Dolatshahi, firstname.lastname@example.org
See also the campaign’s petition, in the sidebar under Alerts.