Saturday, February 28, 2009

It seems like it's Iran Week here at Molly's Blog. Here's another appeal, this time from the Human Rights First organization. It concerns three Iranian women who were arrested for campaigning against gender discrimination in Iranian laws. As you can see from the article below one has already been released, but others still remain in detention. Help pressure the Iranian authorities to release them.
Urge Iranian Authorities to Release Women Human Rights Defenders:
UPDATE: On February 5, Nafiseh Azad was released on bail after being detained for six days.

On Friday, January 30, three members of the One Million Signatures Campaign, a grassroots campaign to reform gender discrimination in Iranian laws, were arrested while collecting signatures in northern Tehran.

The three activists, Nafiseh Azad, Bigard Ebrahimi, and a third person wishing to remain anonymous, were held for several hours at the local police station before being transferred to other detention centers. Of the three, Azad remains in detention and is being charged with "acting against national security."

The next day, on January 31, security agents came to the home of women's rights activist Alieh Eghdamdoost and escorted her to the Revolutionary Courts. She faces the imminent enforcement of a three-year prison sentence for participating in a women's rights demonstration in June 2006. While a number of activists were sentenced for joining that protest, none have been imprisoned to date. Eghdamdoost's imprisonment will mark a further escalation of repression of human rights defenders.

Join us in protesting these repressive actions against women human rights defenders in Iran:
Call for the immediate and unconditional release of Nafiseh Azad; and urge the authorities to suspend implementation of Alieh Eghdamdoost's sentence and release her from custody.
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to Iranian authorities in support of these women.
I am specifically writing about the case of Nafiseh Azad, who, with two
other persons, was arrested on January 30, 2009, for peacefully collecting
signatures for a petition to reform discriminatory laws. Although the two
other individuals arrested with Ms. Azad have been released on bail, I
understand Ms. Azad remains in detention and is being charged with acting
against national security.

I am also writing to convey my deep concern about Alieh Eghdamdoost, a women's rights activist whose home was visited by security agents on January 31, 2009, who escorted her to the Revolutionary Court so that the authorities could begin implementing a three-year sentence for participating in a women's rights demonstration in June 2006. That demonstration, organized as a peaceful demonstration in support of women's rights, was violently broken up by the authorities and resulted in dozens of arrests. I understand that Ms. Eghdamdoost is the first person arrested on that day whose sentence is now being implemented by the authorities. Her imprisonment marks an increase in the repression of
peaceful rights advocates, and I urge your office to stay the sentence and
release her from custody.

The rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of association are enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was endorsed by all U.N. member states, as well as the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory and which is binding on the Iranian government.

These arrests indicate that the recent closure of Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi's Center for the Defense of Human Rights is just the most visible indication of a broader campaign to repress and intimidate human rights defenders over the last few years. I ask that the government of Iran end this crackdown immediately and comply with its obligations to protect citizens exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of association and assembly.

I urge you to release Nafiseh Azad, and stay the sentence of Alieh Eghdamdoost and release her from custody.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter

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