Nasim Khosravi and Raheleh Asgarizadeh Released from Prison
Friday 15 February 2008
Change for Equality: February 27, 2008: Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi, were released on Tuesday February 26th at 7:00pm. These two members of the Campaign were arrested while collecting signatures in support of the Campaign’s petition asking for changes in laws that discriminate against women. They were sent to prison, when they were not able to post the 20 million Tomans bail that was set for them. After 13 days in detention, their bail amount was reduced to a third party guaranteed in the sum of 10 million tomans, after they were called into court again and officially charged. Their family members provided the guarantee to the Revolutionary Courts on Tuesday afternoon, and the two women’s rights activists were released later that day.
Nasim and Raheleh were met by their friends and family at Evin prison, who had been waiting impatiently for their release, followed by a warm celebration. Raheleh and Nasim were both thankful for the kind treatment they received from fellow inmates, and commented that learned much about the negative impact of discriminatory laws on the lives of women, during their stay in Evin. They expressed that the experience has left them with greater resolve to continue along their path and to work for equality of men and women.
Campaign Members Visit with Families of Imprisoned Activists, Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi
Change for Equality, February 25, 2008: More than a week has passed since the arrest of Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi and their subsequent transfer to Evin Prison. Some of the activists involved in the Campaign took this opportunity to visit with the families of these two women’s rights activists. The following are excerpts of the discussions that took place during these visits.
Khadijeh Moghaddam: We have to tell the whole world that our activities are peaceful.
On Wednesday February 20, 2008, some members of the Mother’s Committee of the Campaign and Mothers for Peace visited with the families of Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi. During this visit, Khadijeh Moghaddam member of the Mother’s Committee of the Campaign, while expressing sympathy for the families of these two imprisoned women’s rights activists, said: "we have to tell the whole world that our activities are peaceful and it is not appropriate that we are treated in this manner. They want to inflict fear into the hearts of our children, but are our children supposed to be afraid of? Should they be afraid because they are demanding treatment as full human beings?"
In relation to the six months suspended sentence issued to Ehteram Shadfar, who is also a member of the Mother’s Committee of the Campaign, Khadijeh Moghaddam had the following to say: "unfortunately they increase pressures on us daily, they threaten the mothers, they summon them to court, or they give them warnings. The last of such actions can be witnessed in the issuance of a suspended sentence of six months to Ehteram Shadfar. They want to wear us out so that we tire, but we will not tire, because what we are speaking about and are demanding constitute the most basic of human rights for women. We demand this for ourselves and for our children, and for all the women of our country, who suffer because of these discriminatory laws."
While commending the positive and logical reaction of Raheleh’s family in relation to her arrest, Moghaddam continued by claiming, that: "I want to congratulate the parents of Raheleh for having brought up such a responsible girl. I also want to congratulate Raheleh and her sister Ghazaleh for having such admirable parents. When parents are well informed they tend to support their children better. When we see families like yours, we become even more determined with respect to our goals to elevate the culture of society. One father, like Raheleh’s supports his daughter in such an admirable manner and by so doing strengthens her resolve to continue along this path, another father, stones his 14 year old girl to death [for suspicion of inappropriate sexual behavior/relations]. We hereby announce that despite all these pressures, not only will we not tire, but we will become more determined. The signatures are not important. What is important is working to address cultural problems in our society, so that all families will end up being similar to that of Raheleh’s.
Raheleh’s father also had a few words to add in this meeting, in regards to the arrest of his daughter and that of Nasim Khosravi. "I am happy that Raheleh has chosen the right path for her life on her own. We have only been advisers in this choice. The members of the Campaign don’t work against the interests of the country, otherwise parents would prevent their children from cooperating with this effort. No one can overlook their inalienable rights," commented Mr. Asgarizadeh, Raheleh’s father.
Irandokht Famili, Raheleh’s mother also added: "Raheleh encouraged us to also collect signatures in support of the Campaign. As such, I and her father are now working to collect signatures for the Campaign’s petition. I am proud of Raheleh. She has done nothing wrong, for which we should be ashamed. She makes us proud, because she is working to improve her country." Ghazaleh, Raheleh’s sister, while highlighting Raheleh’s efforts to end legal discrimination against women, explained to visitors, that: "Raheleh has continued her activism even while in detention. When she was first taken to Vozara detention center, before her transfer to Evin prison, Raheleh had the opportunity to talk with about 50 young men and women, who had been arrested after attending a mixed party. Raheleh told them about the Campaign, and encouraged them to get involved in efforts that work toward the improvement of society. These young people were so impressed, that they all expressed interest in learning more about the Campaign and about women’s rights."
Nasim’s Husband: "I believe in Nasim’s efforts on behalf of women."
After their visit with the family of Raheleh, the members of the Mothers Committee visited with Ali Vaezipour, Nasim Khosravi’s husband. Dr. Vaezi explained, "I introduced Nasim to the Campaign, which I had come to know about through the Internet. I believe in Nasim’s efforts on behalf of women and the Campaign, and I myself collect signatures for the Campaign. Once Nasim saw firsthand for herself the level of dedication on the part of activists involved in the Campaign, she made a decision to become more involved. Currently, we are trying our utmost to ensure the release of Nasim and Raheleh.
Khadijeh Moghaddam, in this visit explained, "Nasim has worked very hard to ensure equality of rights between men and women. Imprisonment in the case of someone who has worked so hard for her society is not a just reward. I hope that both Nasim and Raheleh are released from prison soon."
At the conclusion of this visit, the members of the Mothers’ Committee of the Campaign, expressed their support for Nasim and Raheleh and their families, and stressed that they will take all necessary steps to ensure their freedom. They expressed admiration for the civil and peaceful strategies that young women like Nasim and Raheleh employ through the Campaign and viewed the continued pressure and crackdown on Campaign members as part of a continual effort to limit the rights of assembly of citizens and lack of adherence by officials toward laws that protect the rights of citizens in the constitution.
Friends of Nasim and Raheleh visit their families
Some of the Members of the Campaign and friends of Nasim and Raheleh also visited with their family members on the afternoon of February 18th. During this visit, Nasim’s husband explained that, "Nasim was in good spirits when she called me and in general she benefits from a strong spirit. She spoke of the kind treatment of other female inmates toward her and Raheleh. Nasim is an artist and even before her involvement with the Campaign she was very sensitive to and cared about gender discrimination issues. Prior to becoming more involved in the Campaign, she worked to collect signatures for its petition." Nasim’s husband continued by explaining that, "Nasim has been writing poetry since she was 14 years old and has received prestigious awards for her poetry on numerous occasions. She is also active as an actor and director of the theatre. Nasim has made two documentary films which will soon be complete. The fight for equality of women and men and women’s rights has always been present in Nasim’s work."
In their visit with friends of Raheleh and Nasim and Campaign members, Raheleh’s parents, explained that they still have not been provided any answers with respect to the case of their daughter from officials at the Revolutionary courts. The two once again expressed support for the activities of their daughter. Ms. Famili, Raheleh’s mother explained: "My daughter has worked to ensure my rights. I am proud of Raheleh for her activism. When Raheleh first started her activities in the Campaign, she came to discuss the risks with us. Her father told her that we are prepared for everything, but still asked her to be careful and to try not to get into trouble or arrested. Now that she has been arrested, we will put our trust in god. I accept the fact that my daughter is active on these issues in this country and I know the price that has to be paid for change. The first time I saw Raheleh handcuffed, I almost cried. What have these two young women done to deserve such treatment?" Ms. Famili, who is also a member of the Campaign, explained that officials have thus far treated them well, but also explained that these officials are nervous about one million women pouring into the streets.
Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi were arrested on February 14, 2008, while collecting signatures in support of the Campaign’s petition asking the parliament to reform discriminatory laws against women. Lawyers and legal experts, as well as Campaign members, contend that there is nothing illegal about collecting signatures for such a petition.
"We are Proud of Raheleh and Nasim for their Commitment to Women’s Rights" Claims Raheleh’s Mother
Ali Vaezipour, Nasim’s husband explains: "Nasim called me last night and today from prison. She was in good spirits and explained that female prisoners there are treating her and Raheleh very well."
In relation to the bail amount set for Nasim, Mr. Vaezipour explains: "I am a general physician and with limited income, so I cannot come up with the 20 million Tomans (roughly $22000) bail amount set for her release. As such, I will try to convince the courts to reduce the bail amount to a third-party guarantee."
Ghazaleh Asgarizadeh, Raheleh’s sister, who had gone to the Revolutionary courts on Sunday to follow the case of her sister, explains: "they have not given us a definite answer in relation to my sister’s case and we were not allowed to visit the judge in charge of Raheleh’s case. In this respect, the court officials explained to us that a case number for her case has yet to be issued. My sister and her friends haven’t done anything, besides advocating for the rights of women."
Raheleh Asgarizadeh’s mother who is also a member of the Mother’s Committee of the Campaign, explains: "my husband and I are proud of Raheleh, for her activism on behalf of women’s rights and her own rights as a woman. Because I too work with the Campaign, I understand that we must pay a price to bring about change and I am willing to endure these consequences."
Raheleh’s mother explains further: "Raheleh has not committed a crime for which we now have to post a high bail amount. Her father insists that we wait until her innocence is proven, and the judge reduces her bail amount to a third-party guarantee."
In their telephone contact from prison, Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi, spoke of the kind treatment they had received from fellow inmates as well as prison guards. In this short time since their transfer to Prison, Raheleh and Nasim have put many of the female inmates in touch with lawyers working with the Campaign, so that they too can benefit from appropriate legal representation.
Nasrin Sotoodeh, Shirin Ebadi and Leila Alikarami are the lawyers representing Raheleh and Nasim.
Raheleh and Nasim were arrested on February 14, 2008 while collecting signatures in Park Daneshjoo following a street play on the subject of women’s rights. They were transferred to Evin Prison on Saturday February 16, 2008.
Transfer of Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi to Evin Prison
Change for Equality: February 16, 2008: Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi, two members of the Campaign who were arrested on Thursday February 14, 2007, were charged with "propaganda against the state" and transferred to Evin prison on the afternoon of February 16, 2008. The two women’s rights activists had been transferred from Vozara detention center to the Revolutionary Courts earlier this morning, where they were charged and a bail of 20 Million Tomans (roughly $22,000) was set for their release. Unable to provide the bail, the two were handcuffed and transferred to Evin prison. These two women’s rights activists were arrested while collecting signatures in Daneshjoo Park, after attending a street theatre, on the subject of women’s rights.
Prior to their transfer from the Courts, Raheleh and Nasim had an opportunity speak with their friends and family who were waiting outside the court house. Raheleh and Nasim used this time to tell their friends about the two nights they spent in detention, and their conversations with other female prisoners and guards about women’s rights and the demands of the Campaign. During their court hearing, they were asked by the judge to explain what laws they objected to and why they thought these laws to be discriminatory in nature. In response Raheleh and Nasim spoke to the judge and told him stories about the discrimination that women endure because of the law.
With the arrest of Raheleh and Nasim Khosravi, the number of women’s rights defenders arrested in direct relation to their peaceful activities in support of the Campaign, has reached 43 persons. These women’s rights activists have been arrested because of their demand for equality. At the same time, activists in the Campaign, maintain that the expression of these demands is not in violation of any national law and the activities of the Campaign are carried out in the most peaceful manner.
Campaign Members Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi Arrested
Change for Equality: February 15, 2008: Raheleh Asgarizadeh and Nasim Khosravi, two members of the One Million Signatures Campaign were arrested on the afternoon of February 14th, in Daneshjoo Park, while collecting signatures in support of the Campaign’s petition. After their arrest, these two women’s rights activists were taken to police station 129 (Jaami) and then transferred to the security police station number 8 for interrogation. Upon completion of their interrogation they were transferred to Vozara detention center.
After hours of waiting in front of the police station in the hopes of finding out about the status of these two women’s rights activists, their families suspecting that the women had been transfered to another location, decided to inquire about their whereabouts by going to several detention centers. Finally, at midnight on February 15th, family members discovered that the two women had been transferred to Vozara detention center.
On the morning of February 15th, Raheleh and Nasim were taken to the Revolutionary Courts, but the on-duty judge was not available, so they were transferred back to Police Station 8, where they will be held, until it is determined which detention center they will be transferred to.
Raheleh and Nasim are both active members of the Campaign in Tehran and members of the arts and media committees.