Updates on Prison Sentences, Detention and Imprisonment of Women’s Rights Activists

Sunday 12 October 2008

Change for Equality: Over the past couple of weeks, we have had news about the sentences and arrests of several women’s rights activists, as follows:

Hana Abdi, Sentence Reduced through Appeals to One and Half Years

Hana Abdi, who was arrested in November 6, 2007, and who has remained in Sanandaj prison since the time of her arrest, was issued a sentence of 5 years mandatory imprisonment to be spent in exile in the city of Garmi in West Azarbaijan Province. This sentence was appealed by Mr. Sharif, the lawyer representing Ms. Hana Abdi. Through a ruling issued by the Appeals Court, Hana’s sentence was reduced to 1 and half years mandatory prison sentence to be spent in exile in the Hamandan province, the place of her birth. It is unclear whether the time that Hana has already spent in prison will be counted toward her new sentence. Hana is a member of Azar Mehr women’s NGO in Kurdistan and a member of the Campaign.

Ronak Safazadeh, Receives Sentence in Secondary Case, the Status of her Primary Case for which she Remains in Detention Remains Unclear

Ronak Safazadeh was found guilty in a secondary case for illegally crossing the border and for having in her possession illegal satellite equipment. She was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment in this case. The status of her main case, on which she was arrested on October 10, 2007, remains unclear and no court hearing has been held in this relation. Ronak is a member of Azar Mehr women’s NGO in Kurdistan and a member of the Campaign.

Zeinab Bayzeydi’s Sentence upheld in Appeals Court

According the Kurdish Human Rights Watch News Agency, the sentence issued in the case of Zeinab Bayzeydi who was arrested on July 9. After a court hearing in August she was sentenced to serve 4 years mandatory prison term in Exile in Zanjan Province. This ruling has been upheld by an appeals court ruling issued on October 7, 2008. Seyed Mehdi Hojjati the lawyer representing Zeinab Bayzeydi explained that the process for appeals and the issuance of the appeals court ruling was especially unusual and rushed. Mr. Seyed Mehdi Hojjati plans to use Article 18 to object to the ruling in this case. Zeinab Bayzeydi is a Kurdish and women’s rights activist who according to reports was also active in the Campaign in Kurdistan.

Negin Sheikholeslami Arrested

Negin Sheikholeslami, women’s rights and human rights activist was arrested on October 5, 2008 while in Tehran. According to reports from her family she is being held in Section 209 of Evin prison in Tehran, which is operated by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. Ms. Sheikholeslami was the founder and Director of Azar Mehr Women’s NGO in Kurdistan. She is the fifth Kurdish women’s rights activist to be imprisoned. The other four include: Ronak Safazadeh, Hana Abdi, Fatemeh Goftari, and Zeinab Bayzeydi.


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