Drop Charges Against Iranian Women’s Rights Activists

Wednesday 5 December 2007

Human Rights First has issued an urgent action alert in support of women’s rights defenders involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign. Specifically the alert highlights the arrest of Campaign members Jelve Javaheri, Maryam Hosseinkhah, Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi, while condemning the sentence issued in the case of Delaram Ali. The statement follows. To take action visit their site.

Since the end of October, five members of the Iranian women’s rights movement known as the One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality have been arrested and criminally charged for carrying out their peaceful human rights activities.

Maryam Hosseinkhah and Jelveh Javaheri have both been charged with "inciting of public opinion, propaganda against the state, and publication of false information" for their writings on the website of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Change for Equality, and are being held in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Hana Abdi and Ronak Safarzadeh, both members of the campaign for women’s equality in the province of Kordestan, have been detained for several weeks. Ms. Abdi’s whereabouts are unknown, and Ms. Safarzadeh has been allowed only limited contact with her family and no access to her lawyer.

On November 4, 2007, the Tehran Court of Appeal sentenced Delaram Ali, another member of the campaign, to two years and six months imprisonment for "participation in an illegal gathering, propaganda against the system, and disturbing public order" after she participated in a peaceful rally in Tehran. An order to stay the sentence was issued, but it has expired, and the sentence could be implemented at any time.

Please urge the Iranian authorities to drop the charges against these peaceful activists and to immediately release those who are detained.

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