Sweden Criticizes Sentence Issued in Case of Parvin Ardalan

Friday 12 September 2008

Change for Equality: The Swedish Foriegn Minister expressed concern about the worsening situation of human rights in Iran, following the sentence of 6 months imprisonment issued to Parvin Ardalan in relation to her activities on the site of the Campaign, Change for Equality as well as her involvement in Zanestan the webzine of the Women’s Cultural Center. Along with Ardalan, 3 other members of the Campaign were tried and sentenced to six months imprisonment, including Maryam Hosseinkhah, Jelve Javaheri and Nahid Keshavarz. The news of the statement provided by Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister appears below:

"The prison verdict of September 3, 2008, given to the Iranian Human Rights defender Parvin Ardalan is worrisome. Ardalan was not allowed to travel to Sweden to receive the Olof Palme Prize for Human Rights in March this year. The accusation that Ardalan should be a threat against the national security of Iran lacks credibility. I have earlier emphasized the appreciation from Sweden’s towards Ardalan and her colleagues’ commitment to promoting human rights in Iran. Their work is of particular significance for improvement of women’s situation in Iran," said Foreign Minister Carl Bildt in a comment regarding the sentence of six months imprisonment for Parvin Ardalan, the recipient of the Olaf Palme Prize in 2007, along with similar sentences issued for three other persons.

"I see the verdict as one further expression of the deteriorated respect for human rights in Iran. I have in Sewdish Parliament pointed out that in this area there has been an evident and negative development during the last months. The amount of executions has increased dramatically and a number of them have taken place in public. At least five persons have been executed since June 2008, for crimes they are accused of committing when they were minors - the list of persons with a risk of facing the same fate is long. The situation for a number of human rights defenders and other dissenters has deteriorated. Some have been sentenced to long prison terms, others have been given the death penalty and stand the risk of being executed. For journalist and the defender of the humane rights Yaqub Mehrnehad it is already too late- he was executed on August 4. The situation for minorities has also deteriorated, in particular bahais."


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