Open Letter by AIDOS President, Daniela Columbo, to Iranian Ambassador in Rome, Expressing Concern for Detention of Khadijeh Moghaddam
Wednesday 8 April 2009
Concerning the Detention of Ms Khadijeh Moghadam in Iran
Chief of Mission
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Via Nomentana 362
Fax: +39 06 86328492
I am writing on behalf of the Italian Association for Women in Development (AIDOS), a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in Rome in 1981 to work for the rights, the dignity and the freedom of choice of women, to express our deep concern about the detention of one of our Iranian colleagues, Khadijeh Moghadam who is detained at this time in Evin Prison in Tehran.
As you perhaps know, AIDOS has a long history of cooperation with Iran on matters of health and security for women. Our engagement has included a high level study tour in Italy for numerous Iranian officials in 2004, including the head of the Teheran Police, the Deputy Minister of Health, advisors to the Head of Judiciary and the Education Ministry, and the President of the Center for Women’s Participation.
Our engagement has included, more recently, cooperation with Ms. Khadijeh Moghadam, at the meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2009. There she spoke to women from all around the world with a peaceful message especially important for women in poor and marginalized areas, about how they can establish new lives for themselves and their children. She also spoke about her concerns about the impact of discriminatory laws on women’s and girls’ lives and her efforts to change them, and about her commitment to peace, as demonstrated in her role in the establishment of Mothers for Peace. Ms. Moghadam is deeply respected by women’s rights activists from around the world and by the international community.
This is why her current detention is deeply shocking, and why I take the liberty to ask your assistance to guarantee her immediate release.
Ms. Moghadam was among 12 women’s rights activists detained arbitrarily in Tehran on 26 March 2009. They were arrested as they prepared to make traditional New Year visits the families of several prisoners.
All of the detained women were subsequently transferred to Evin Prison, and eleven were charged with “disturbing public opinion” and “disruption of public order.” All pleaded innocent to the charges, and were released on bail. But the authorities have not arraigned Ms. Moghadam, nor has she been allowed to post bail. No explanation has been given. There is no legal ground for her continued detention.
Your Excellency, I will be deeply grateful if you will do all in your powers to convey our message to the Judiciary authorities that the continuing detention of Ms. Moghadam, who is demonstrably innocent of breaking any law, is not only a violation of her rights but brings shame on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thank you for your attention.