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RSF Condemns Arrest of Cyber-Feminists, Jelve Javaheri and Maryam Hosseinkhah

Wednesday 5 December 2007


Reporters without Borders (RSF), the leading organization working to defend the rights of journalists and free speech has issued statements condemning the arrest of cyber feminists, Jelve Javaheri and Maryam Hossienkhah. Both of these women are activists and members of the One Million Signatures Campaign and are currently in Evin Prison on charges related to their writings in support of women’s rights on the site of the Campaign. The statements issued by RSF in support of these women’s rights activists and cyber journalists appear below.

Another arrest in crackdown on cyber-feminists

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of feminist writer Jelveh Javaheri of We-Change (http://www.we-change.org/), a website that had been campaigning for women’s rights in Iran since 2005. She was arrested on 1 December in Tehran when she responded to a court summons.

“Javaheri is the second cyber-feminist to be arrested in two weeks on utterly vague charges,” the press freedom organisation said. “Websites such as hers are symbols of the criticism which the Iranian government wants to stamp out. By harassing feminist activists in this manner, the regime wants to put a stop to these news and information websites, and that constitutes a serious violation of free expression.”

Aged 30, Javaheri was taken to Evin prison on the northern outskirts of Tehran after being charged with publishing false information, “disturbing public opinion” and “publicity against the Islamic Republic.

She was previously detained by a revolutionary court on 4 March for participating in a demonstration in support of five cyber-feminists who were being prosecuted on charges of “attacking national security,” “publicity against the Islamic Republic,” and “participating in an unauthorised demonstration.” Provisionally released four days later, she is due to be tried on 18 December. Maryam Hosseinkhah, a journalist arrested on the same charges on 18 November, is still being held in Evin prison. Hosseinkhah wrote for Zanestan, another women’s rights website, which has been closed since 12 November. The authorities are requesting the equivalent of 95,000 euros in bail for her release.

Authorities could demand 95,000 euros for cyber-feminist’s release

Maryam Hosseinkhah, a cyber-feminist who was arrested on 18 November for an article on the website Zanestan (“Women’s City - http://herlandmag.net/) about women detainees, could be released on bail of 95,000 euros. Lawyers who represent Hosseinkhah and other cyber-feminists are currently negotiating conditions for her release.

“We note that the Tehran prosecutor’s office does not envisage holding Hosseinkhah for much longer, but we think the sum demanded for her release is indecent,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Zanestan, a women’s online bi-monthly founded in 2005, has been closed since 12 November 2007 on the orders of the Internet bureau of the ministry of culture and Islamic orientation, after publishing reports about the sentencing of four women who campaigned for signatures for the web petition “One million signatures to amend laws which discriminate against women.”

 

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