Fatemeh Masjedi, Imprisoned Campaign Activist Visits with Family

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Change for Equality:: Fifteen days after her arrest, Fatemeh Masjedi was allowed a visit by her family on February 12, 2011. According to Fatemeh’s brother, this women’s rights activist is being held in the public prison in the city of Qom and to date he has been allowed to have two visits with her. According to Fatemeh Masjedi’s brother, she is allowed to have telephone contact with her family and she is in good spirits.

Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli, two women’s rights and Campaign activists based in Qom, were arrested on May 7, 2009 and released on bail of twenty Million Tomans (approximately $20,000) two weeks later. They were charged with spreading propaganda against the state and in favor of a feminist group (the Campaign). They were each sentenced to one year mandatory prison term in their first court hearing on August 4, 2010. Additionally, Fatemeh Masjedi was fined approximately $200 and Maryam Bidgoli approximately $100. The two activists appealed the court’s ruling. The appeals hearing was held on December 7, 2010 at the Third Branch of the Qom Province Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeals simply reduced their prison sentence to six months.

It should be noted that in the past Campaign activists facing charges for their involvement in the Campaign have either been acquitted in their initial trials, in appeals or have received suspended sentences. Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli are the first activists involved in the Campaign to be sentenced to a mandatory prison term for their involvement in this peaceful effort intent on changing discriminatory laws against women. While Fatemeh Masjedi’s sentence has been implemented, Maryam Bidgoli’s sentence has not been implemented yet and she remains free. Bidgoli’s lawyer has asked for a judicial review of the sentence.


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