Vanessa @ Feministing:
Not even a month after Iranian feminist Delaram Ali was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for taking part in a women’s rights rally, Jelveh Javaheri was arrested on Saturday for creating the website We4Change, which promotes women’s rights in Iran. On the site, Maryam Hosseinkhah, also arrested last month, reports from prison.
All three women are leaders in the One Million Signatures Campaign, which is seeking to gather signatures calling for the change of discriminatory laws in Iran.
More from Human Rights First:
Jelveh Javaheri was arrested on December 1, 2007, after being summoned for interrogation at the security branch of the Revolutionary Courts in Tehran. A sociology student and journalist, Ms. Javaheri has published articles about the women’s rights campaign in many media outlets. For her writing, she was charged with inciting public opinion, propaganda against the state, and publication of false information, and is currently being held in Evin Prison’s women’s ward. Ms. Javaheri was previously arrested in March 2007 for peacefully protesting outside the trial of five other activists,. She has a court appearance relating to that arrest scheduled for December 18.
Maryam Hosseinkhah, like Ms. Javaheri, is a journalist who writes about women’s issues and the campaign for equality. On November 18, 2007, she was summoned for interrogation at the Revolutionary Court and was subsequently charged with “inciting public opinion, propaganda, and publication of false information.” Her bail was set at one million Tomans (approximately US $110,000), despite the minor nature of the charges and her low income. The exorbitantly high bail appears to be a strategy to force Ms. Hosseinkhah to go to jail. She is currently held in Evin Prison’s women’s ward.
The charges against these activists are part of the mounting repression of the women’s rights movement by the Iranian authorities. Iran should respect the provisions of international human rights treaties to which it is a State Party, and the 1998 U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, particularly the right to freedom of expression, association, and information, and should drop the charges against these peaceful activists and release those who the authorities have detained.
Related: More on Delaram Ali and what can be done to assist women’s rights activists in Iran; according to Human Rights First,
[a]fter seven leading human rights organizations around the world made a statement condemning the harsh sentence, [Ali’s] sentence was stayed; as of last week, however, the stay has expired and the sentence could be implemented at any time.