Amnesty International Issues Urgent Action for Khadijeh Moghaddam
Friday 11 April 2008
[h] has issued an urgent action with respect to the recent arrest of Khadijeh Moghaddam, member of the One Million Signatures Campaign and women’s rights activist. The urgent action recognized Moghaddam as a prisoner of conscience, held because of her peaceful activities in support of equal rights. To take action, visit the site of Amnesty International. The urgent action also appears below.
PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/053/2008
UA 93/08 Arbitrary arrest/ Prisoner of conscience
IRAN Khadijeh Moghaddam (f), women’s rights defender
Khadijeh Moghaddam is an active member of the Campaign for Equality, which aims to collect one million signatures of Iranians for a petition demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iran. She was arrested at her home at 11am when security officials forced their way into her house. She was shown the warrant for her arrest only after a lengthy argument. Khadijeh Moghaddam was taken to a base belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards known as Eshrat Abad, Tehran (also known as Prison 59), where she was interrogated for several hours about her involvement with the Campaign for Equality, before being brought before an investigative judge of the Tehran Revolutionary Court. The judge also interrogated her, charged her and set her bail at an amount approximately equivalent to US$ 112,000.
Khadijeh Moghaddam’s family and friends spoke with her while she waited to be transferred to the Vozara detention centre. She told them that she was arrested for hosting meetings of the Campaign for Equality in her home and that the investigative judge had asked her to identify seven or eight members of the Campaign who had participated in these gatherings. Later Khadijeh Moghaddam told the judge that she was unable to pay the bail. According to a statement issued by Campaign for Equality activists, the judge said that Khadijeh Moghaddam would be imprisoned for a week before being brought back before the Court for questioning, when she would have another opportunity to provide the names of the Campaign members and the bail amount. When she was asked to make a statement in her defence, Khadijeh Moghaddam stated: "…my way of life is my defence."
Dozens of activists and supporters have been arrested in connection with their activities for the Campaign for Equality, some while collecting signatures for the petition aiming to end legal discrimination against women in Iran. As of January 2008, the Campaign’s website had been blocked by the authorities at least seven times (see: http://www.change4equality.com). Official permission to hold public meetings has frequently been denied, and Campaign activists usually hold their workshops in the homes of sympathizers, some of whom have then received threatening phone calls apparently from security officials or been summoned by them for interrogation. At least one such workshop was forcibly broken up by police, who arrested those present, beating some.
Two women, Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi, remain detained in the city of Sanandaj, Kordestan province (see UA 297/07, MDE 13/130/2007, 7 November 2007) because of their affiliation to the Campaign for Equality.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Persian, Arabic, English, French or your own language:
Head of the Judiciary
Minister of Intelligence
Leader of the Islamic Republic
Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
and to diplomatic representatives of Iran accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 22 May 2008.