Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Iran: Women's rights activists releasedIran: Women's rights activists released
Amnesty International Public Statement
Amnesty International welcomes the news that Ehteram Shadfar and another woman, detained on 10 June, were released under personal guarantee on 11 June 2007. Ehteram Shadfar told the Iranian Students' News Agency after her release that she had been questioned about her activities in gathering signatures for the "Campaign for Equality" (which aims to collect a million signatures of Iranians to a petition demanding an end to legalised discrimination against women in Iran) and that a case is being prepared against her.
Amnesty International is urging the Iranian authorities not to bring charges against the two women, as it considered them to be prisoners of conscience, and to end the harassment and persecution of supporters of the campaign.
Amnesty International is very concerned to learn that the Tehran authorities have not granted permission for a gathering of women to be held today, the anniversary of a demonstration calling for equal rights for women in 2006. According to a report by the Iranian Labour News Agency on 11 June, one of the main organizers of the planned gathering had been told that the authorities would not permit it to go ahead. Behareh Hedayat, Head of the Women's Commission of the Office for the Consolidation of Unity (a student organization) and a member of its central committee, was reported to have said that although the organizers had sought permission for the gathering 10 days in advance, having been told by the authorities that permission would be granted if they did so, they had informed on the morning of 11 June that the authorities were opposed to the gathering and would not give permission for it to proceed.
Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to allow all Iranians to exercise their right to gather peacefully, as provided for under Iranian law and international human rights standards on freedom of expression and association.