Fourteen Equal Rights Defenders Summoned to Court

Monday 29 October 2007

Change for Equality: Fourteen equal rights defenders have been summoned to court for trials which are scheduled to take place over the next two months. The trial of Zara Amjadian was held on Saturday October 27th, 2007. Besides Amjadian others summoned to court include: Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, Elnaz Ansari, Shahla Entesari, Nahid Entesari, Niloofar Golkar, Maryam Hosseinkhah, Sarah Imanian, Jelve Javaheri, Sarah Loghmanian, Maryam Mirza, Rezvan Moghadam, Ehteram Shadfar and Sussan Tahmasebi. While Ehteram Shadfar is being tried in relation to her activities in the One Million Signatures Campaign, all others are on trial in relation to their arrest on March 4th. On March 4, 2007, 33 equal rights defenders were arrested outside the revolutionary courts. The women had staged a peaceful protest objecting to the trial of five women’s rights activists who were being tried on national security charges in connection with a peaceful protest on June 12th objecting to discriminatory laws against women.

Zara Amjadian, who faced charges in relation to her arrest in March, including illegal assembly and collusion against national security, disruption of public order and refusal to adhere to the orders of the police, appeared in court with her lawyer. Amjadian denied the charges against her. Based on Article 27 of the Iranian constitution peaceful protest and gatherings are permissible under law. The other women arrested on March 4th are facing similar charges.

Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, one of the women arrested on March 4th explained that "we are being summoned to court at a time when the status of our other case [in relation to the June 12, 2006 portest objecting to legal discrimination against women] which has been referred to an appeals court remains unclear." Ahmadi Khorasani was on trial on March 4th, along with Parvin Ardalan, Shahla Entesari and Sussan Tahmasebi. A small crowd of women’s rights defenders had gathered outside the court house to protest the trial and to demonstrate their solidarity with the women on trial. When police started arresting the protesters, the women on trial left the courthouse to ask the police to refrain from the arrest of their friends and colleagues, after which they too were arrested.

All of the women summoned to court are active members of the One Million Signatures Campaign.


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