Women’s Rights and Student Activist Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh Arrested, Released Next Day

Monday 6 July 2009

Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign and a women’s and student rights activist was arrested during a sit-in in Laleh Park. She was transferred to Vozara Detention Center where she was held over night and the next day to the Revolutionary Courts. Judge Sobhani, at the Security Branch of the Revolutionary Courts ordered her release. No bail was posted for her release.

The Sit-in was organized by a group calling themselves the "Mourning Mothers," who called upon Iranian mothers and citizens to gather in several parks to mourn the loss of life of Iranians in the recent protests and violence which erupted after the Ministry of Interior declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner of the Presidential races. The mothers are also calling upon authorities to stop violence against peaceful protesters and to release all those imprisoned in recent weeks. This was the second of such protests, which are supposed to occur on a weekly basis on every Saturday at 7:00pm. The following is a report of Zeynab’s arrest, printed in Rooz Online.

Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh Arrested

Sunday July 5th 2009

Rooz Online:

Yesterday Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh, women’s and student activist, was arrested in Laleh Park in Tehran, one of the four meeting places the "Mourning Mothers" had designated for their mourning ceremonies for those killed in previous weeks.

According to a passer-by present at the time, Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh, activist in the One Million Signatures Campaign, was hailed by officers present in the park as she was walking in the park with two of her friends. The witness was unaware as to whether they hailed her by name or not, but it was clear from the words that were shouted afterwards that they only wanted one of the three people, whom they then made get in their car.

This passer-by, who had herself gone to Laleh Park at the invitation of the group named "Mourning Mothers", stated that "during the time I was in Laleh Park security forces and plainclothes officers could be seen everywhere in the park. But I didn’t see any altercations myself nor did I see anyone arrested except for this one person whose name I afterwards found out was Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh."

She continued, "while her companions were extremely concerned and complained strenously, and were treated in a threatening manner, security officers took her away and as far as I know no-one had any information on where she was taken."

This passer-by furthermore, commenting on the state of Laleh Park yesterday, said that "a lot of people had come and the presence of women was particularly striking and it was clear that many of them had come for the mourning ceremonies. But there was no sign or slogan that distinguished them from ordinary people and the only thing that was clear was that officers allowed no-one, not even people on their own, to assemble around the park’s water features."

Similar news was reported from other parks which had likewise been designated as meeting-places for the Mourning Mothers, that is to say the presence of large numbers of people especially women. The "Mourning Mothers" is an independent group made up of mothers whose children have either been assaulted, have disappeared or been martyred in the events following the Iranian presidential elections. Maryam K., who was present in Goftogu Park had the following to say about those in the group who had issued this invitation: "I don’t know them and it’s not important either what their names are. Their invitation said what we all felt. This is no longer the 1980s when they didn’t even give permission for mourners to put on mourning ceremonies. People are following their own paths."

This woman, whose experience of social activism until now has been limited to signing the One Million Signatures Campaign’s statement, explained that "I went to Goftogu Park at about 6. I entered by the Gisha entrance (the first one after the canal). Although the park was not busy and although it was very hot, the whole place was swarming with security officers. Everywhere you looked, the number of security officers in green uniform and plainclothes officers outweighed the number of ordinary people. I entered the park and saw that in every corner near and far security officers were visible. Two police vans were stationed at the north side of the park, in such a way as to be invisible except from particular angles. These were the same sort of vehicles as those they used during recent demonstrations to pick people up and take them away.

Maryam K. continued, "people came little by little. Among the people who came women carrying bottles of water and wearing sneakers could be seen, and it was clear that they had come to be present at the ceremonies. But there was no other sign, neither slogans, nor written materials, nor green. Everyone was trying to look normal, as if they had come for an ordinary day out. And that’s how it was. Plenty of people actually had no information about the ceremonies and had come with their families to pass time and for that reason they asked the police with astonishment why they were there. And the police sometimes gave evasive answers. Little by little the presence of people and police side by side became so normal that you could see police sitting on the grass in every part of the park with their batons by their sides. I said to my friend, ’look, you can see that even they have come to protest in silence on the grass!’ "

Maryam contiued, "We saw the news today on the internet and we made arrangements among our friends that all of us would go to a park. Of course we don’t yet have any news from the Mellat Park but from Andisheh Park we have news of a similar situation. I mean, that the people and the security officers have held mourning ceremonies side by side in peace and quiet!"


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