PSA: Free Esha Momeni

by matttbastard

Update: Be sure to sign the official petition calling for Momeni’s release.

Change For Equality:

Esha Momeni, women’s rights advocate and a member of the Campaign from California was arrested on Wednesday October 15, 2008, while on a visit to Tehran. Momeni who is a photographer and graduate student was arrested in an unusual and illegal manner after being pulled over on Moddaress highway, by individuals who identified themselves as under cover traffic police on the pretense that she had unlawfully passed another vehicle while driving. Esha was arrested and taken to Section 209 of Evin Prison, managed by the Intelligence and Security Ministry.

Prior to her transfer to Evin, security officials searched her home and seized property, including her computer and films which were part of her thesis project. The security officials had an arrest warrant and court permission to search the home and seize property.

While Esha’s friends and colleagues were insistent about announcing the news of her arrest immediately, based on requests from her family this news was announced with delay. Security forces had promised Esha’s family that she would be released quickly if news of her arrest was not published.

Esha’s parents went to the Revolutionary Courts today, on the fifth day of her arrest, to follow up on the case of their daughter. Court officials told the Momeni family that they should not come to the courts again, and that their questions will not be answered until the investigation of Esha’s case comes to a close.

Esha Momeni is a graduate student at the School of Communications, Media and Arts at California State University, Northridge. Esha had come to Iran two months ago to visit with her family and to work on her Masters thesis project, focused on the Iranian women’s movement. To this end, she had conducted video interviews with members of the One Million Signatures Campaign in Tehran.

Women’s rights activists object to the unusual manner in which Esha was arrested, as well as the irresponsible treatment of her family members by security forces. Further they strongly object to the unjustified and unwarranted arrest of this women’s rights defender.

A weblog in support of Esha pressing for her release has been established, which includes interviews with her professors… . The weblog as well as the site of the Campaign, Change for Equality, will continue to provide news on developments about Esha’s case. Take a look at the blog For Esha.

Take action now–please write to the following contacts:

* Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228, Email: info@leader.ir / istiftaa@wilayah.org / webmaster@wilayah.org;
* President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir;
* Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567 / +98 21 3 390 4986, Email: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir;
* Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email: matbuat@mfa.gov;
* Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran, His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani, C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827
* Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int;
* Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: iran-embassy@yahoo.com.

– [express] concern at the arrest of Esha Momeni, and [urge] on the authorities to treat her humanely in detention, and protect her from torture or other ill-treatment;

– [ask] the authorities to ensure that while in detention she is granted immediate and regular access to her family, a lawyer of her choice, and any medical treatment she may require;

[express] concern that her arrest was apparently in connection with her peaceful activities in support of equal rights for women in Iran and in the context of her graduate research;

– [urge] the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally if she is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought to trial promptly and fairly

h/t Vanessa @ Feministing (via Feminist Daily News); more from CNN, DKos, Melissa Wall, and David Blumenkrantz. Also see this article on the 0ne Million Signatures Campaign, written by Momeni in 2007.

Previous Change for Equality PSAs:

Background: More on the still-ongoing One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality from Change For Equality (more here) and Ms. Magazine.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to add your name.

arton103.jpg

Update: Be sure to sign the official petition calling for Momeni’s release.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Advertisements

Jelveh Javaheri And Maryam Hosseinkhah Released On Bail

by matttbastard

 

More post illness catch-up: Jessica Reed at oDToday reports that Iranian women’s rights activists/journalists Jelveh Javaheri and Maryam Hosseinkhah were recently released on bail after being held  at the notorious Evin prison for “disturbing public opinion,” “publishing false news” and “publicity against the Islamic Republic” as a resultof their participation in the One Million Signatures campaign. Hosseinkhah had been imprisoned since November 18th, whileJavaheri was taken into custody December 1st.  

Further details at Reporters Without Borders.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Release Iranian Women’s Rights Activists Immediately

by matttbastard

Human Rights Watch:

Iran: Release Women’s Rights Activists Immediately
Government Should Drop All Charges, End Harassment
(New York, December 17, 2007) – Iran should drop politically motivated charges against two women’s rights activists facing trial this week because of their participation in a peaceful protest, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should release Jelveh Javahari and Maryam Hosseinkhah without delay.

Human Rights Watch learned that court officials have set court dates of December 18 and 19 to try Javaheri and Hosseinkhah on charges stemming from their involvement in a March 4 peaceful gathering to protest the prosecution of other women’s rights activists.They were among 26 women arrested at that time and released from detention over the following weeks.

However, authorities have been holding Hosseinkhah and Javeheri in Unit 3 of the general women’s ward of Evin prison since November 17 and December 1, respectively, on separate charges relating to their peaceful activities on behalf of the One Million Signatures Campaign to End Discrimination Against Women.

“There seems to be no end in sight to the Iranian government’s persecution of women’s rights activists,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “They are bringing new charges against women faster than they can try them.”

On November 17, Hosseinkhah responded to a written order to appear before a branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran in connection with her advocacy for the One Million Signatures Campaign. Officials charged her with “disturbing the public opinion” and “publishing lies” and set a heavy bail of 100 million tomans (approximately US$100,000) for her release. As a result of her inability to provide bail, authorities transferred her to Evin prison.

On December 1, Javahari responded to a written order to appear before a branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, also stemming from her involvement with the One Million Signatures Campaign. The court charged her with “disturbing the public opinion,” “propaganda against the order,” and “publishing lies via the publication of false news,” and then transferred her to Evin prison. According to interviews with Javahari’s mother, which are available on the website of the One Million Signatures Campaign to End Discrimination Against Women, the court initially set a bail of 50 million tomans (approximately US$50,000) but withdrew it on grounds that investigations into the case would first have to be completed.

It is not clear if the trials on December 18 and 19 will also address the new charges against them.

Two other women’s rights activists with the One Million Signatures Campaign to End Discrimination Against Women, Ronak Safazadeh, 21, and Hana Abdi, 21, remain in detention on charges of “endangering national security.” Authorities arrested and detained Safazadeh on September 25 and Abdi on October 23 in Sanandaj, a city in the Kurdish region of northwestern Iran.

“The government has not provided a shred of evidence to suggest that Ronak Safazadeh and Hana Abdi have done anything except campaign peacefully for the rights of Iranian women,” Whitson said.

Take action now. Further background here and here. Once again, more on the still-ongoing One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality from Change For Equality (more here) and Ms. Magazine.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to add your name.

arton103.jpg

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Free Jelveh Javaheri

by matttbastard

jelveh.jpg

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.

Take action now. Also see We4Change, Amnesty International and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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.

Take action now.

Once again, more on the still-ongoing One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality from Change For Equality (more here) and Ms. Magazine. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to add your name.

arton103.jpg

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers