Two Campaign Activists Final Sentence Issued: Six Months’ Jail, Monetary Fine
Friday 24 December 2010
Feminist School: Two One Million Signatures Campaign activists based in Qom, Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli, have been sentenced to six months imprisonment by the Court of Appeal. They have also been fined $218 and $109 respectively.
In issuing its judgment on the case, the Court of Appeal rejected their defence because of the extent of their activities in the Campaign. It did however reduce their sentence from one year in prison to six months on account of the fact that they had no previous criminal record. The level of their fine, however, was not reduced.
Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli were arrested by security officers in Qom on 7th May 2009. Two weeks later they were released on payment of a bail of $21,800 each. They appeared in court on 4th August 2010 and were charged with propaganda against the [Islamic] System and on behalf of an anti-System feminist group (the Campaign). Both Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli were sentenced to a year’s imprisonment after this first court appearance.
The Court of Appeal hearing for the two women’s activists was held on 7th December 2010 at the Third Branch of the Qom Province Court of Appeal and it was widely believed that the sentence would be overturned and the two activists either acquitted or have their sentence commuted to suspended imprisonment, as has been the case for all other Campaign activists, whether at the initial stage or under appeal. Unfortunately however the Court of Appeal simply reduced their jail sentence to six months on account of their lack of previous convictions, rather than acquitting them.
Until now, all detained members of the Campaign have been acquitted by the initial court or under appeal and until the present time no sentence has been carried out against any member of the Campaign. This is despite the fact that the activities of the two activists in the field of women’s issues have been informed by an Islamic perspective. Fatemeh Masjedi has translated numerous articles on women’s issues from an Islamic perspective, including the following:
"On the Occasion of Human Rights Day: a Re-Reading of the Concept of Human Rights";
"Science and Muslim Women from the Seventh to Thirteenth Centuries A.D.";
"Women in Islamic Jurisprudence: an Effort to Promote Knowledge of Jurisprudence Among Women’s Movement Activists".