Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Petition for the Release of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari

For Immediate ReleaseMay 22, 2007For further information:Christina Halstead, Women's Learning Partnership301-654-2774 (Tel) wlp@learningpartnership.orgPetition for the Release of Dr. Haleh EsfandiariSigned by Women's Studies and Middle East ScholarsWe are shocked and dismayed that Dr. Haleh Esfandiari has been chargedwith endangering "national security". Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, the well-knownand highly respected Iranian-born academic and life-long advocate ofwomen's rights was arrested on May 8 in Tehran. Dr. Esfandiari heads theMiddle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center forScholars in Washington, DC, a nonpartisan research institution devoted tothe promotion of national and international dialogue. In December 2006 shewent to Iran to visit her ailing mother. On her way back to the airport,she was accosted by armed men who took all her belongings, including herpassport and other documents, at knife-point. Subsequently, she was placedunder virtual house arrest and subjected to more than 50 hours ofintensive interrogation. On May 8, she was arrested and taken to Evinprison. Her arrest comes at a time of increased harassment andintimidation of women in Iran, especially those involved in civilactivism. The non-formal charges advanced by certain semi- governmentalpress in the country, including Kayhan Daily, though clearly fabricated,underline the precariousness of Dr. Esfandiari's condition.In her long career, Dr. Esfandiari has been a true advocate for equalrights for women, especially in Muslim-majority countries. In recentyears, she has been active in promoting understanding and peace amongnations. Her focus has been on facilitating interaction among Iranian andnon-Iranian scholars.We the undersigned strongly deplore the arrest of Dr. Esfandiari and callon the Iranian authorities to release her immediately and to allow her toleave Iran.* Amal Abdel Hadi, Founder, New Woman Research Foundation* Mahnaz Afkhami, Founder, Women's Learning Partnership* Barbara Aswad, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Wayne StateUniversity* Margot Badran, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, GeorgetownUniversity* Nimat Hafez Barazangi, Cornell University* Beth Baron, Co-Director, Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center,Graduate Center, City University of New York* Catherine Baylin, The American University in Cairo* Sharon C.B. Baylin, Instructor, Graduate Department of Education,Goucher College* Lourdes Beneria, Cornell University* Marilyn Booth, Director, Program in South Asian and Middle EasternStudies, University of Illinois* Ladan Boroumand, Research Director, Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation* Beverly Bossler, Professor of History, University of California - Davis* Donna Lee Bowen, Professor of Political Science, Brigham YoungUniversity* Dana Coelho, University of Maryland* Chris Crews, Ohio University* Pezhmann Dailami, Independent Scholar, Schwerin, Germany* Margaret Dieter, Psychotherapist, New York* Omnia El Shakry, Department of History, University of California - Davis* Matthew Evangelista, Professor of Government and Director of the PeaceStudies Program, Cornell University* Nancy Gallagher, Chair of the Middle East Studies Program andCo-Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University ofCalifornia - Santa Barbara* Mara Giglio, Peace and Justice Organizer, Ohio* Ali Granmayeh, Middle East Institute, University of London* Julio Guzman, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland* Sondra Hale, Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies, Universityof California - Los Angeles* Frances Hasso, Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies andSociology, Oberlin College* Mary Elaine Hegland, Associate Professor, Anthropology/SociologyDepartment and Program for the Study of Women and Gender, Santa ClaraUniversity* Barbara Ibrahim, American University in Cairo* Saad Eddin Ibrahim, American University in Cairo* Heather Irwin, Ohio University* Alexandra Laetizia Jerome, Instructor of Islamic Studies, HumanitiesDepartment, York College of Pennsylvania* Julie Joosten, Cornell University* Suad Joseph, Professor of Anthropology & Women's Studies, University ofCalifornia -Davis* Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, Director, The Center for Persian Studies,University of Maryland* Zayn Kassam, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Pomona College* Kate Lang, Associate Professor and Chair Department of History,University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire* Mary Layoun, Professor of Comparative Literature, University ofWisconsin - Madison* Patrizia Manduchi, Facoltà di Scienze Politiche, Dipartimento StoricoPolitico Internazionale, Universita degli Studi di Cagliari* Mary Martin, Anthropologist, University of the Arts, Philadelphia* Guenter Meyer, Centre for Research on the Arab World, University ofMainz* Amy Mills, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University ofSouth Carolina* Val Moghadam, Professor of Sociology and Director of Women's Studies,Purdue University* Madhu Mukherjee, Research Scholar, University of Kent* Jehan Mullin, American University of Beirut* Azar Nafisi, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns HopkinsUniversity* Archana Parashar, Associate Professor, Division of Law, MacquarieUniversity* Pamela Day Pelletreau, Independent Scholar* Alexandra Pittman, Assistant Coordinator of the Middle Eastern andIslamic Studies Program, Boston College* Samantha Power, Carr Center for Human Rights, Harvard University* Annalisa Raymer, Cornell University* Parama Roy, University of California - Davis* Nerissa Russell, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University* Oliver Schlumberger, Senior Researcher, Deutsches Institut fürEntwicklungspolitik, German Development Institute* May Seikaly, Associate Professor, Department of Near Eastern & AsianStudies, Wayne State University* Neelam Sethi, Cornell University* Caroline Seymour-Jorn, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee* Nada Shabout, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of NorthTexas* Amir Sheikhzadegan, University of Zurich, Sociological Institute* Diane Singerman, Department of Government, School of Public Affairs,American University* Iain Stewart, Senior Lecturer in Law, Macquarie University* Poopak Taati, Professor of Sociology* Dede Tete-Rosenthal, Cornell University* Baki Tezcan, Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies,University of California - Davis* Nayereh Tohidi, Professor and Chair, Women's Studies Department,California State University* Neda Toloui-Semnani, Consultant on Women and Development* Namie Tsujigami, Kobe University* Aleardo Zanghellini, Lecturer in Law, Macquarie University* Estelle Zinsstag, School of Law, Queen's University Belfast* Sherifa Zuhur, Director, Institute of Middle Eastern, Islamic, andDiasporic Studies

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