Amir Yaghoub-Ali and Bahareh Hedayat Released from Evin

Thursday 12 July 2007

August 10, 2007 Change for Equality: Bahareh Hedayat and Amir Yaghoub-Ali were released from Evin prison, after a month imprisonment, on the evening of Wednesday August 8th, along with 7 student activists.

Bahareh Hedayat who is a member of the Campaign and a member of the Central Council of the Office to Foster Unity (the main Iranian student organization) was arrested on the 8th anniversary of the student uprising on July 9, in front of Amir Kabri University, along with 5 other student activists, and fellow council members. The six had staged a peaceful sit-in protest in front of Amir Kabir University to mark the anniversary of the 18th of Tir, the student uprising in 1999, and to object to the continued and illegal detention of Amir Kabir students who had been arrested in May on false charges of printing materials which are insulting, to Islam and the state. Following the arrest of these six students the office of the Alumni Organization of Iran which is a legally registered political party and human rights organization closely affiliated with the student movement, was stormed, shots fired and those present arrested.

Amir Yaghoub-Ali was arrested while collecting singatures in support of the One Million Signatures Campaign, which seeks to end legal discrimination against women, on July 11. He was moved to Evin prison a few days after his arrest. Amir is an active member of the men’s committee of the Campaign and also a student activist in his university, Allame Tabatabi’e University.

Bahareh and Amir were released on the evening of August 8, along with 7 other student activists arrested on July 9, including: Abdullah Momeni, Bahram Fayazi, Mohammad Hashemi, Ali Veghfi, Ali Nikonesbati, Mojtaba Bayat, and Morteza Eslahchi. Over 150 family members, student and women’s rights activists had gathered outside of Evin prison, to show their solidarity with those scheduled for release. The authorities however, took these individuals to a variety of locations within the city of Tehran, by van, and released them on to the streets one by one, denying them the opportunity to be greeted by friends and family. One by one, those released from prison contacted family and friends, who met them in different locations in the city.

Following the release of Amir and Bahareh, members of the One Million Signatures Campaign, went to the homes of these individuals for a visit. Both were tired from their time in prison, but remained in good health and spirits.

Two other student activists, Hanif Yazdani and Mehdi Arabshahi, were released on Thursday August 9. All those released were released on bail ranging from 20-50 Million tomans (approximately $25-$55,000). Ahmad Ghassaban, Ehsan Mansouri and Majid Tavakoli, three Amir Kabir students, who were arrested in May, remain in prison and their conditions are unknown.

Statement by 900 Equal Rights Defenders Objecting to the Imprisonment of Women’s Rights Activists, Bahareh Hedayat and Amir Yaghoub-Ali

August 3, 2007 Change for Equality: At a time when defense of women’s rights and efforts designed to change gender-based discrimination and gender relations, have become one of the most rooted and effective of peaceful movements, and as a result have worked to impact the thinking of decision makers and legislators urging them to demand gender equity, by revising laws on Dieh, inheritance and witness testimony to guarantee equality for women, unfortunately there still exist violent reactions to these peaceful movements which cannot tolerate the admitting to social realities. Violent reactions which don’t take into account the most basic of human rights. The illegal pressures and crackdowns of the past month serve as a warning of a new wave of insecurities facing Iranian society. These pressures include, the illegal arrest of social activists involved in the women’s, student, labor and teacher’s movements, and heavy sentences of imprisonment and lashings for social activists (such as Alieh Eghdamdoust, Delaram Ali, and Maryam Zia), for their participation in the peaceful protest of discriminatory laws against women, in Hafte Tir Square, death sentences issued in the case of civil society activists (such as Adnan Hassanpour, and Hiva Boutimar who were engaged in civil and peaceful activities in Kurdistan) the expansion of the security/military presence within the cities with the excuse of controlling morality and women’s dress, the television broadcast of confessions, the closure of newspapers and publications, and limiting the free flow of information.

It seems that this time the aim and center of pressures are concentrated on the binding forces between social movements. Activists who work to create unity and cooperation between different social movements are treated with spite. Amir Yaghoub-Ali and Bahareh Hedayat, both activists involved in the student and women’s movement, have been in prison for over 3 weeks and no information about their situation is at hand. Bahareh Hedayat, member of the Central Council of the Office to Foster Unity (Shoray-e Markazi Tahkime Vahdat) and women’s rights activist was arrested on July 9th while staging a peaceful sit-in protest which sought to object to the continued detention of students from Amir Kabir University, who had been arrested in May. Bahareh is being held in solitary confinement at Section 209 of Evin prison, which is managed by the Intelligence Ministry. Amir Yaghoub-Ali is a student activists and member of the student organization of Allameh Tabatabi’e University and one of the young members of the One Million Signatures Campaign, who was arrested on July 11 in Andisheh Park while collecting signatures in support of a petition asking for changes in laws which discriminate against women. Amir is currently being held at Section 209 of Evin Prison. Besides the illegal and unjustified arrest of these two individuals, their lack of access to lawyers and family members, as well as concerns for the manner in which they are being treated by agents of the Intelligence Ministry, has increased our concern for their well-being and situation.

As signatories to this statement we object to the arrest of these two women’s rights defenders as well as the illegal nature of their arrest and the potentially violent treatment they are receiving while in prison. Signatories to this statement demand the immediate and unconditional release of Bahareh Hedayat and Amir Yaghoub-Ali and other imprisoned student activists, as well as the immediate reversal of heavy sentences, including the sentencing to execution, issued in the case of civil activists.

Read the statement, which was signed by 900 equal rights defenders in Farsi.

Another statement objecting to the illegal arrest of Amir Yagoub-Ali had been issued shortly after his arrest, by men involved in the Iranians women’s movement.

Also, the mothers of Bahareh Hedayat and Amir Yaghoub-Ali, had written a letter to Ayatollah Shahroudi, Head of the Judiciary, objecting to the arrest of their children and asking for follow-up and a quick resolution to their cases. No actions has been taken thus far by the Office of Ayatollah Shahroudi. Women’s rights activists will continue to call for the release of these two actvisits.

Amir Yagoub-Ali Spends 20th Birthday in Evin Prison

July 20, 2007 Change for Equality: Today is Amir Yaghoub-Ali’s 20th Birthday, which he will celebrate in Section 209 of Evin Prison, most possibly while in Solitary Confinement.

Amir Yaghoub-Ali was arrested on July 11 while collecting signatures in support of the One Million Signatures Campaign, and after five days in detention, he was transferred to Section 209 of Evin prison on Sunday July 15.

According to Behnaz Mokhtari, Ali’s mother, the judge in charge of his case, informed her on Sunday that Ali had been transferred to Evin prison. "Mr. Sobhani, the judge, informed us that there are 11 charges against Ali, and that he would have to remain in Evin prison until these charges are investigated. I asked the judge what exactly these charges were. My daughter asked what illegal activity has he engaged in? Is collection of signatures illegal?"

The judge, according to Ms. Mokhtari, brushed them off and replied as such: "we are not concerned with its legal or illegal nature. We have to see what the "leaning" and intent of his activities were. Amir is a man, why has he concerned himself with the activities of women? He should go and focus on his studies."

While the authorities may not understand Amir’s commitment to fight for equal rights and his respect for human rights, those fighting for equal rights of women, commend Ali for his commitment and honor him on this auspicious day—the day of his birth. Amir represents a younger generation of Iranians, who respect the human rights of their fellow citizens and are willing to take risks in order to ensure that fellow human beings are treated with dignity. This characteristic obviously sets this younger generation apart from previous generations of Iranians, and gives us all hope! Happy Birthday Amir!

July 16, 2007 Amir Yaghoub-Ali Transfered to Section 209 of Evin Prison

Change for Equality: After 5 days in detention, reports indicate that Amir Yaghoub-Ali has been transferred to the 209th Section of Evin Prison, which is administered by agents of the Ministry of Information and Security. Amir Yaghoub-Ali was arrested on July 11, 2007, while collecting signatures in support of the One Million Signatures Campaign, in Andisheh Park in Tehran. His parents and other women’s rights activists went to the Revolutionary Courts in an effort to pursue his case, on Thursday July 12. During his court hearing, Judge Jamshidi, issued a 48-hour order of arrest. A subsequent court hearing was scheduled with the security branch of the courts, for Saturday July 14, after which it was believed that Amir Yaghoub-Ali would be released on Bail. His family members followed his case on Saturday, but instead of receiving answers to his whereabouts and the status of his case, they were given the runaround, and forced to go from the court to the detention center, and back.

Instead of releasing Amir, as promised by Judge Jamshidi, family members were reportedly informed that Amir has been transferred to the 209th Section of Evin Prison. This order was apparently issued by Judge Hadad, in the security branch of the Revolutionary Courts.

Amir is one of a growing number of young men, involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign, and the women’s movement. Through their growing activism on behalf of equal rights for women, these young men not only forgo the rights unjustifiably accorded to them by law, but take risks and face imprisonment in an effort to ensure that women in Iran are viewed as full human beings under the law. Their commitment to human rights and equality should be met with applause and encouragement, not imprisonment.

It should be noted that the act of collecting signatures for a petition intended for the Parliament is not defined as an illegal activity under Iranian law. To date 13 members of the One Million Signatures Campaign have been illegally arrested for involvement in this most civil and peaceful of activities.

July 11, 2007 Amir Yaghoub-Ali Arrested while Collecting Signatures

Change for Equality: Amir Yaghoub Ali, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign and student activist at Allameh Tabatabi’e University, was arrested on July 11, 2007 while collecting signatures in support of the One Million Signatures Campaign at Andisheh Park, in Tehran.

Amir was first detained by park police. He was subsequently arrested and taken to Niloofar police station No. 104. According to reports, Amir Yaghoub Ali will be taken to Tehran District court on Thursday July 12. Updates on this case will be provided on a regular basis.

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