Statement issued by nearly 900 women and civil society activists

Release Khadijeh Moghaddam and Mahboubeh Karami

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Change for Equality: Nearly 900 women’s rights and civil society activists have signed a petition requesting the judiciary to immediately and unconditionally release Khadijeh Moghaddam and Mahboubeh Karami and drop the charges against all the 12 activists arrested on March 26th, while meeting up on a street corner to go for visits of the late Dr. Zahra Baniyaghoob’s family, on the occasion of the Iranian New Year. The statement appears below.

Do Not Create Crimes of New Year’s Visits, Release Khadijeh Moghaddam and Mahboubeh Karami

On March 26th 2009, twelve women’s rights activists including members of the One Million Signatures Campaign and Mothers for Peace, while waiting in their cars for their friends to join them and go visit Zahra Bani Yaghoob’s family for the new year, were arrested by the security forces and were taken to the 3rd base of Niloofar security policy station for interrogation. In continuation of these arrests these activists, who were treated in a humiliating manner, were all taken to Evin prison first and the men were moved to the Ghezel Hesar prison the following day.
According to the arrested activists, in addition to ignoring their complaints at the Niloofar police station and Evin prison, they were accused of "Disrupting public order and disrupting public opinion” and finally were issued a bail order.

After the issuance of a bail order on the same night and the consistent follow-up by family members of those imprisoned, eventually after 3 days, on March 29th 2009 ten of those arrested were released on bial, but Khadijeh Moghaddam and Mahboobeh Karami remain in detention at Evin prison and to date, the assistant prosecutor has refused to release them on bail.

New year’s visit are not considered a crime, neither according to the law nor based on common cultural beliefs. Therefore such actions can only constitute irresponsible behavior on the part of some security and judicial officials and constitute misuse of power and official position, all of which causes stress and insecurity to the families of those in detention, disruption of social order and the creation of false cases against activists.

We, the undersigned, call upon officials at the Judiciary to unconditionally and immediately release Khadijeh Moghaddam and Mahboobeh Karami and drop all charges against all those arrested in this case. We also demand that the Judiciary take appropriate action to follow-up and investigate the actions of security officials who arrested these activists.

Read the petition in Farsi. You can also sign the petition at the bottom of the form in the box provided (you can sign in English) and your name will be added to the list.


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