Interview with Shahla Entesari Regarding the Imprisonment of Alieh Eghdamdoust

Entesari: They Took Full Advantage of Her Loneliness

Friday 6 February 2009

Change for Equality: Shahla Entesari member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, visited the city of Fouman the residence of Alieh Eghdamdoust, to find out a bit more about this woman’s rights activist, who was transferred to Evin prison on January 31, 2009 to serve her three year prison term in relation to participating in a peaceful protest in Haft-e Tir Square in June 12, 2006. Alieh Eghdamdoust did not have extensive relations with women’s rights activists or the organizers of the protest or in 2006, or after. Additionally, she does not have any immediate family members who can follow-up on her case.

Shahla Entesari explains: "following the news about the imprisonment of Alieh Eghdamdoust, I went to Fouman from Rezvan Shahr (in the north of Iran, where I live), to find out more about her. None of us knew Alieh, so it was important that we obtained more information about her situation. Through the locals I found Alieh’s family home in Fouman. It was an old home, her father’s home, and the place where Alieh was arrested and taken to Evin prison in Tehran. It seems that Alieh did not live in this house on a full time basis, and according to her neighbors, she only visited Fouman occasionally and would stay for a few days.

I should point out that I have never seen Alieh. It seems that after the prison sentence she received her contact with women’s rights activists diminished greatly. I went to Fouman with the intention of finding her family and some minimal information about this imprisoned women’s rights activist.

According to the locals in Fouman, Alieh is about 58-60 years old. For years she was a teacher and after the Revolution she was forced out of her job. She spent several years, 1983-1989 in prison in relation to her political activities. Both of Alieh’s parents are deceased. One of her brothers was imprisoned in the Northern city of Rasht and executed by firing squad in 1952 (during the reign of the Shah). Alieh has no children and apparently she was divorced many years ago. In reality she has no immediate family members to follow up her case, and it seems that officials have taken full advantage of her loneliness and lack of personal connections to issue such a heavy sentence in her case and to then implement it."

In the interview we conducted with Shahla Entesari we asked about her opinion with respect to the three year sentence issued in the case of Alieh Eghdamdoust. Entesari was one of the participants in the June 12, 2006 protest and like Eghdamdoust she faces charges in relation to this case and her case is currently in appeals court. Entesari believes that objecting to discriminatory laws against women is a fundamental right of women and men, who cannot stand by and accept that according to Iranian law women are relegated to a second class position in society.

Shahla Entesari explains: "how can we convey to officials that we are dissatisfied with the existence of such laws and the negative impact they have on our relations and in our families? Why is it that our objection to these injustices are considered to be illegal? Why do they have to treat those who object to these laws in this way—like they have treated Alieh Eghdamdoust? We can see people at all levels of society are objecting to discriminatory laws and working to change them. As such, officials who are seeking to contain and prevent these objections, through the use of force, threats, violence, and prison sentences, have to examine history and stop resisting these changes. The demand for legal reform of discriminatory laws is not a demand that can be easily quashed, because our society has reached a level of maturity and awareness and there is no turning back."

Sign the petition in support of Alieh Eghdamdoust.


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