Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Women arrested during a demonstration in Teheran on Sunday have gone on a hunger strike.

Their “crime” was to stage a gathering “against the country’s security.” Sunday morning, a large number of women gathered in front of the Court house to protest against the trial of five other women's rights campaigners. The police attacked the demonstrators and arrested 36 women.
Inside the court, the trial was underway for the five women accused of illegally organising a demonstration last June which was broken up by police and resulted in the brief arrest of 70 people.

The names of the arrested Sunday are as follows:

Asyeh Amini, Jilla Bani-Yagoob, Mahboobeh Abasgoli-zade, Mahboobeh Hossein-Zade, Sara Logmani, Zara Amjadian, Maryam Hossein-zade, Jelveh Javaheri, Niloofar Golkar, Parastoo Dokohaki, Zeynab Paygambar-zade, Maryam Mirza, Sagar Legabi, Khadijeh Mogadam, Sagi Legayee, Nahid Keshavarz, Mahnaz Mohamadi, Nasrin Afzali, Talaat Tagi-Nyaz, Fakhri Shadfar, Maryam Shadfar, Elnaz Ansari, Fatemeh Govarayee, Azade Fergani, Samyeh Farid, Minoo Mortazi, Sara Imanian, Nahid Jafari, Susan Tahmasbi, Parvin Ardalan, Nooshin Ahmadi-Khorasani, and Shahla Entesari. Shadi Sadr and the solicitor of Shahla Entesari.

According to ZNet only two days earlier, the women had published an open letter asserting their rights to the freedom of peaceful assembly that are afforded them by the Islamic Republic's constitutional laws:
"International Women's Day is soon upon us as our nation endures a grave period. The internal policies of domination, duress and an ineffectual foreign policy - with an insistence on pursuing a nuclear energy program - when we have lost the confidence and trust of the world; as the confrontational issues and the continuous warmongering policies of the United States and its allies around the world with the pretext of exporting democracy and human right through sanctions and military attack has presented us with a mounting predicament. On one side - with the absence of a democratic structure - we witness decisions being made on our behalf without our presence or the presence of our legitimate leaders. While at the other end we feel the circle of the siege around us increasingly tighten as we are threatened with sanctions and the nightmare of war[…]

[…][W]e announce our protest against all paternalistic policies, whether they be in the name of dishonest interpretations of Islam or with the pretext of human rights and democracy and we believe what the world community should insist upon debates on democracy and human rights and not nuclear energy, and all within peaceful diplomatic dialogue, not war and destruction[…]

[…]Despite all the pressures and obstacles the Iranian women's movement in now within its most enduring and active periods in recent history."

Irene Khan, Amnesty International's Secretary General said of Sunday's arrests:

"Rather than arresting peaceful demonstrators, the Iranian authorities should be taking seriously women's demands for equality before the law and addressing discrimination against women wherever it exists in the Iranian legal system. We worry that the women detained yesterday may be kept in detention until after 8 March, a day on which they were planning to campaign for their internationally recognized right to equality."

The following article comes from AKI (Italy)


Tehran, 6 March (AKI) - All the women arrested on Sunday as they were staging a rally in front of a court house in Tehran are on hunger strike in the Evin jail where they are currently detained. Authorities said Tuesday that the women's rights activists arrested are 33. Unofficial reports had suggested that the younger activists in the group would be released on Tuesday but so far none of them has been allowed to leave Tehran's Evin prison.

The protesters were staging a demonstration in support of five women on trial for organising a rally in June last year against laws they say discriminate against women.

Their attorney Nasrin Sotudeh said the women, whom he says were violently beaten on their arrest, are likely to be charged with subversive activities and taking part in an illegal rally though they have not yet been formally accused of anything.

"In the Islamic Republic, fighting for equal gender rights is considered a subversive act threatening national security," the lawyer told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Monday.

Meanwhile all students' associations in Iran have been notified by university authorities that they will not be allowed to organise any rally or university meeting before 8 March on feminism or women's rights.

The five on trial organised a demonstration on 12 June last year which was violently broken up by the police and led to the arrest of 70 people, many of whom were reportedly innocent bystanders.

The aim of the activists was to protest against Islamic laws on polygamy and child custody they say discriminate against women.

When the five women defendants left the court building on Sunday they were reportedly arrested again, along with their lawyer.

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