Shadi Sadr violently abducted without headscarf

Saturday 18 July 2009

Women’s Field Around 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 17th Shadi Sadr was arrested in an entirely illegal manner on Keshavarz Blvd when she was en route with her friends to attend the Friday Prayers. One of Shadi’s friends has provided an account of what took place, stating:

We were heading towards Keshavarz Blvd, not even reaching the middle of the boulevard, when someone approached me and said, “You’re coming with me. The others go.” Shadi and I were looking at him with surprise, and one of the motorists said to him, “Not that one, this one.” They were dressed in civilian clothes (probably security forces) and went towards Shadi. Shadi was shaken up and taken by surprise. Suddenly she was then taken away and kept in a Peugeot car. Me and a friend started to yell, “Where are you taking her?!!” That’s also when Shadi tried to struggle and started to cry for help, pounding the car door. My friend then tried to open the door, and we were pulling Shadi out but an official who was inside the car was grabbing onto her. He was pulling onto her in such a way that her manteau (overcoat) was coming off but one of my friends still held onto Shadi’s hand and her blouse and pants that were once intact started to come off when caught in the car. At that time she escaped. The officials in civilian clothing and also me and my friend were running after her. It was then one of the officials from the opposite side attacked her and was pulling onto her scarf. Shadi was resisting his force when the scarf came undone. Shadi again escaped. This time two other people appeared unexpectedly, one of them carrying a spiral baton. They took Shadi and beat her violently while she continued to resist them. We weren’t allowed to go towards her. By force they had taken her and put her in the car. The official manhandled Shadi and it was apparent that for them, her hejab wasn’t even important!! When they brought her to the car, they didn’t even give her the scarf back. The car turned around and sped away. It’s true that no one, other than me and my friend did anything. Maybe if we were more in number, we wouldn’t have let them take her.

Shadi wanted to give her bag to us when the motorist shouted from afar “Keep hold of her bag!” Everyone became shocked that they couldn’t react. We have never seen an official order or identification from these paramilitary forces and we have no idea who they are.

Shadi Sadr, lawyer and journalist, was the director of Raahi, a legal advice centre for women until it was closed down. She founded Zanan-e Iran (Women of Iran), the first website dedicated to the work of

Iranian women’s rights activists and has written extensively about Iranian women and their legal rights. She has represented activists and journalists, several women sentenced to execution, whose convictions were subsequently overturned. She is also involved in Women’s Field (, a group of women’s rights activists who have launched several campaigns to defend women’s rights, including the "Stop Stoning Forever" Campaign.

Shadi Sadr was among 33 women arrested in March 2007. Most had gathered outside a Tehran courtroom to protest peacefully against the trial of five women – Fariba Davoudi Mohajer, Shahla Entesari, Noushin Ahmadi Khorassani, Parvin Ardalan and Sussan Tahmasebi – who were accused of “propaganda against the system”, “acting against national security” and “participating in an illegal

demonstration” in connection with the 12 June 2006 demonstration. Four of those on trial were also among those arrested, along with Shadi Sadr, a lawyer. Initially held in the Vozara detention centre, some were later transferred to Evin Prison. Most were released after several days, but Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh – who is also involved in the "Stop Stoning Forever" Campaign – were held for over two weeks before being released on bail.

At a Revolutionary Court session in August 2007, which their lawyer was not allowed to attend and during which they were also questioned about their NGOs and their activities in the “Stop Stoning

Forever”campaign, they were charged with illegal assembly, collusion against national security, disruption of public order and refusal to obey the orders of the police.


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