Release the Children of the Women’s Movement

Friday 31 July 2009

Change for Equality: The following statement, which was signed by over 800 activists, was issued by a group of women’s rights activists. This is the second statement issued by women’s rights activists regarding recent developments in Iran and the broad arrest of civil, political and human rights activists and ordinary citizens. The last statement was signed by over 600 women’s rights activists and called on the government to end the crackdown against Iranian citizens and free all those arrested. The latest statement, which is provided below, requests that officials release women’s rights activists and those who support the women’s movement. Shadi Sadr, one of the activists named in this statement was released from prison on July 17, after 11 days in detention.

Release the Children of the Women’s Movement

Our country is going through difficult times, times full of tension, full of passion and full of violence. In their years of struggle to change the condition of women, a prerequisite to any other social change, the activists of the women’s movement have demonstrated a commitment to methods that are combative, but nonetheless always peaceful and non-violent. Yet it seems that today is another day, when those that have been talking about peace and calm and equality are thrown into jail for the crime of rioting. They have torn open the mouths of those who spoke in silence, they stop the sight of those whose eyes are turned towards justice. People, look into the streets: these are the same streets in which for all these years social activists, especially the activists of the women’s movement, have sought their lost rights with a silent tongue, in complete tranquillity and with civility. These are those same streets in which, road by road, signature by signature, they have talked of "right". These are the same streets in which even the stones, who have put up with so much, have been complaining. Today, then, we call to mind our prior experiences throughout the territory of our Iran.

The activists of the women’s movements have stood beside the people from the first days of the civic and popular protests against the election results, and, united with them, have called for their rights with one voice. They have been present in the rivers of people that surged forth into the streets. They were both in the midst of the crowds in the streets and like all those who were the victims of violence, they stood in the first ranks of the processions. They raised cries of lament in one voice with Neda’s mother. They raised a mighty cry in one voice with Sohrab’s mother, and in unison with all of the black-garbed mourning mothers clenched their fists. During these days, they have not had an independent line from the people, because they have always spoken on behalf of the people, and today it is the people that is speaking on their behalf.

Therefore, we, a group of Iranian women’s movement activists, like all of those people whose children are in detention, raise up a mighty cry of justice, seeking their release. We, like all of those who consider freedom to be the right and dignity of all the people, cry out the names of the children of the women’s movement who have themselves been the heralds of justice and right. Free our children! Free Zhila Bani Yaghoub, Bahman Ahmadi-Amooyi, Shadi Sadr, Shiva Nazar-Ahari, Kaveh Mozaffari, Mahsa Amrabadi, Hengameh Shahidi and Somayeh Towhidloo.

Defenders of the women’s movement, lawyers and journalists in detention: free Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Abdolreza Tajik, Keyvan Samimi and Masoud Bastani!

We, their sisters, mothers, and friends, are concerned for their health and well-being, because we have the experience of Sohrab and others like him in mind. We request that the Iranian judiciary, officially responsible for the custody of prisoners, and that the authorities responsible for placing them in detention, release them without conditions and completely safe and sound.

This is certainly not our final demand. Like all of those who are in mourning these days and in sympathy with them, we have many more demands which we will convey at the proper time. As a first step, however, return these children of the women’s movement safe to their families. Do not allow violence to become more widespread than it already is, so that everyone becomes afflicted by it and no-one is left invulnerable.

Read the original statement in Farsi and view the signatures.


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