Observatory Issues Urgent Appeal in Case of Hana Abdi

Monday 7 July 2008

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) has issued an urgent appeal in the case of Hana Abdi, who was recently sentenced to five years in prison to be served in border town, far from her city of Sanandaj. The urgent appeal is copied below:


New information

IRN 013 / 1107 / OBS 154.1

Arbitrary detention / Sentencing


July 4, 2008

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in *Iran*.

*New information:** *

The Observatory has been informed by the reliable sources about the sentence pronounced against Ms. *Hana Abdi*, a member of the women’s rights NGO /Azar Mehr/ and an active member of the One Million Signatures Petition Campaign [1] .

According to the information received, on June 18, 2008, Ms. Hana Abdi was sentenced to a prison term of five years in the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan (/Azarbayjan-e Khavari/) on charges of “gathering and collusion to threaten national security” under article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code by Judge Tayari in Branch Two of the Sanandaj Revolutionary Court.

According to her lawyer, Mr. Mohammad Sharif, Ms. Abdi was given the maximum sentence possible and the conviction was solely based on interrogations conducted by Intelligence Ministry officials during her incarceration, during which she was held in solitary confinement for two months and reportedly tortured. Furthermore, Mr. Sharif had been denied access to his client during the interrogation process and during the hearing, the judge refused to consider the lawyer’s defence, referring only to the interrogation reports. As of June 18, 2008, Mr. Sharif intended to file an appeal.

As of July 4, 2008, Ms. Hana Abdi remained detained in Sanandaj prison, Kurdistan province.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the harsh sentence against Ms. Hana Abdi, which is once again evidence of the ongoing harsh repression of the Iranian authorities against human rights defenders, in particular women’s rights activists involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign.

The Observatory also recalls that more than a hundred of women’s rights activists have been arrested, interrogated, and/or sentenced in the past two years and that the Government has raised over one million Euros by imprisoning the activists and releasing them on high bail [2] .

The Observatory further wishes to insist on the fact that Iran had committed to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” [3] by presenting its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006 election and had insisted in this regard on the fact that the country had “continuously put great efforts into safeguarding the status and inherent dignity of the human person as well as the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” [4] . In order to ensure the continuation of these efforts, the Observatory urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to conform with international human rights standards.

Background information:

On November 4, 2007 Ms Abdi had been arrested by seven security officers in her grandfather’s home in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province. Following her arrest, the officers searched her father’s home and confiscated her computer and educational pamphlets related to the Campaign. Until recently her whereabouts had remained unknown.

On May 6, 2008, a court hearing had been held in the Branch Two of the Revolutionary Court in Sansandaj during which Ms Abdi had been charged with “gathering and collusion with the inted to commit a crime” under article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code.

Since her arrest, Ms. Abdi had remained detained in the public ward of Sanandaj prison. The order for her temporary detention had been renewed on several occasions, despite her lawyer’s repeated objections and requestis for a bail to be set in order to allow her release.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Iran urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Hana Abdi, as well as all activists engaged in the One Million Signatures Campaign;

ii. Ensure that Ms. Hana Abdi be granted a fair and impartial trial shall she appeal her sentencing, so that the charges against her be dropped as they seem to merely sanction his human rights activities and as such are arbitrary;

iii. Drop all arbitrary charges against all women’s rights defenders involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Iranian human rights defenders;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” and Article 12.2, which provides that “"the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Iran.


· Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228, Email: / /;

· President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail:;

· Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567 / +98 21 3 390 4986, Email: /;

· Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email:;

· Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran, His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani, C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827

· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:;

· Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: .

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Iran in your respective country.


Paris - Geneva, July 4, 2008

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:


Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] This campaign primarily seeks to put pressure on the Iranian legislators in order to withdraw provisions that have adverse effects on women’s human rights.

[2] See Observatory Annual Report 2007.

[3] In accordance with GA resolution A/RES/60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council.




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