Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Sign Petition To Support Imprisoned Women’s Rights Activists, Alieh Eghdam Doust and Nafiseh AzadWednesday 4 February 2009
Immediately Release Imprisoned Iranian Women’s Rights Activists
International Women’s Day is being welcomed on several fronts—by women’s rights activists and by those intent on impeding the Iranian women’s movement. It seems that women’s rights defenders have to greet pressure, prison, and heavy sentences, as the delight of commemorating International Women’s Day has been darkened by the sadness of the imprisonment of women’s rights activists—by the imprisonment of our colleagues.
These peaceful warriors of justice are being imprisoned at a time when their call for justice has slowly rendered progress and has softened the hard and unyielding core of unjust laws, so that women’s lack of rights in our country can slowly be remedied. The examples of the increased backlash are plentiful. The implementation of the sentence in the case of Alieh Eghdamdoust, a lonely woman on the verge of a cold season, who has sacrificed her life in a struggle for justice, means that she now has to spend three years in prison. Further, Nafiseh Azad, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, has been arrested and is now in Vozara Detention Center for the mere act of collecting signatures and working to raise women’s awareness. These are only two of the real examples of the increased pressures placed on women’s rights activists.
Alieh Eghdamdoust is one of the women’s rights activists arrested in the June 12, 2006 protest in support of women’s rights in Hafte Tir Square in Tehran. She was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment and 20 lashings in her original trial and in appeals three years of her prison sentence was upheld. On January 31, 2009 she was transferred under guard from Fouman City in the north of Iran, to Evin prison in Tehran, in such a manner that she wasn’t even able to contact her friends, so they could accompany her to prison. Alieh Eghdamdoust is the first woman’s rights activist to have her prison sentence implemented. Does this mark the end of peaceful activism by women’s rights defenders?
Nafiseh Azad, one of the activists of the One Million Signatures Campaign, was arrested on January 30, 2009 in the Tochal Mountains north of Tehran along with two other activists while collecting signatures in support of the Campaign’s petition. Despite the simultaneous arrest of these three activists two of them were released on a third party guarantee within a day, but Nafiseh, who was arrested because she tried to support her two colleagues by requesting that the police release them, has been detained and interrogated for several days in Vozara Detention Center since. The charges against her and the subject of her interrogations do not correspond with the reason for her arrest, and as such constitute clear violations of the law and her civil rights. Meanwhile security forces have stormed the home of Nafiseh Azad and violently searched her premises, seizing personal property.
These excessive actions against women’s rights activists occur despite the fact that their actions and activities are absolutely legal and in accordance with the constitution and in line with their civil rights.
We, the signatories of this petition, strongly demand an end to these illegal and violent actions against women’s rights activists and in particular those involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign. Additionally, we urge Iranian authorities to drop all charges against women’s rights defenders and immediately release those imprisoned. We further demand that instead of resorting to illegal actions against women’s rights defenders, Iranian officials, lawmakers, and the judiciary take positive and proactive steps to reexamine and reform discriminatory laws against women.
Sign the Online Petition