Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh Released on Bail After Nine Days in Prison

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Change for Equality:
May 17, 2007: Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh Released After Nine Days in Prison

After posting bail, Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh was freed on Wednesday evening, May 17, 2007. With the help of the family of another member of the Campaign, Zeinab’s bail was finally posted on Monday, but because court officials were on holiday on Tuesday, her release was postponed to Wednesday May 17th. The release of Zeinab, took place under unusual circumstances. It is customary for family and friends to meet released prisoners outside of Evin prison. As such, Zeinab’s father, along with a number of her friends, went to Evin prison, to await her released. Based on information they had received earlier in the day from court officials, Zeinab was scheduled to be released at 5:00pm. After several hours of waiting, Zeinab’s father was informed at 9:00pm that he should go home, and that Zeinab would be personally escorted to her house by prison officials. Despite this commitment, prison official drove Zeinab to a Kaj Square, where she was released, and subsequently contacted her father.

Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh was arrested after being summoned for court in relation to her arrest on March 4th, when 33 women’s rights activists were arrested during a peaceful protest objecting to trial of 5 of their colleagues and increasing pressures on women’s rights activists. During her hearing, the prosecuting judge charged with her case imposed a 20 million toman (roughly $25,000) bail and placed Zeinab in prison when she could not immediately come up with the amount of bail. Zeinab’s father’s efforts, as well as the efforts of her friends to post bail, were thwarted by court officials at every step, resulting in Zeinab’s unwarranted and lengthy imprisonment.

The members of the Campaign are relieved that their colleague Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh has been released, but continue to worry about future such illegal actions by courts and intelligence officials targeting members. Campaign members continue to be grateful for the support they received by organizations and individuals in reflecting and objecting to Zeinab’s treatment. We hope that all individuals committed to social justice continue to support us in our efforts and as we face increased pressure in response to our peaceful and legal activities.

May 15, 2007: Over 550 Activists and Social and Cultural Figures Protest the Arrest of Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh

In a statement of protest issued today, May 14, 2007, over 550 activists and social and cultural figures have objected to the arrest of Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh, a women’s rights activist, journalist and student leader, who was sent to Evin on May 7th.

Those signing the protest statement have specifically objected to threats against Zeinab’s father and retaliatory measures employed by judiciary officials, who placed Zeinab in prison because she refused to respond to an illegal verbal telephone summons to appear in court. The signatories have also objected to the lack of adherence to laws by the judiciary officials, who have thwarted the process of her release on bail. The statement also expresses grave concern for the health of Zeinab who is dependent on heart medication, to which she has had no access since her imprisonment. The statement in Farsi was published on the Site of the One Million Signature Campaign, of which Zeinab is an active member.

Courts Refuse to Release Zeinab from Prison!

May 14

Change for Equality: Zeinab’s father, Mahmoud Peyqambarzadeh, went to the Revolutionary Courts today, Monday May 14, to post bail for the release of his daughter, who was imprisoned on May 7. Prior to this, Mr. Peyqambarzadeh had been to court almost daily to to post bail for his daughter, but on several occasions was not permitted entry into the court, and finally on Saturday, he was met with excuses, preventing him from securing the release of his daughter.

On Saturday May 12, Mr. Peyqambarzadeh went to the Revolutionary courts along with Zeinab’s lawyer, Nasim Ghanavi. On this occasion the two were informed that the courts would indeed accept bail. Immediately following this announcement, one of the fathers of another member of the Campaign, brought the deed to his property in the city of Semnan, to post as bail for the release of Zeinab. The courts then informed Zeinab’s family that since the deed belongs to property outside of Tehran, court officials must investigate the property, with a view toward assessing its value and ensuring that it is free of leans and loans. As such, Zeinab’s release was once again postponed by court officials.

Today, while accepting the property deed as bail for the release of Zeinab, court officials informed Mr. Peyqambarzadeh that office hours were indeed over, and that Zeinab’s case must be dealt with during the next business day. Court officials explained further that Mr. Peyqambarzadeh should not expect the courts to free his daughter tomorrow (Tuesday May 15) as this day is an official holiday, and the courts are closed.

As such, with continued excuses and impediments put forth by the Courts, Zeinab remains in Prison. It should be noted, that her father has been unsuccessful in providing her with much needed heart medication, personal belongings, such as a change of clothes, or money (which Zeinab needs for the purpose of purchasing toiletries, phone time, as well as some food items). On Saturday, prison officials explained to Zeinab’s father and several of her friends who went to Evin in the hopes of providing Zeinab with her medication, that prison regulations only permit prisoners to receive medication, clothing and money on Tuesdays, so they should come back then.

Zeinab’s father has expressed concern for the health and well-being of his daughter who depends on her heart medication.

Previous news items on Zeinab

Court Officials Angry, Refuse Zeinab’s Bail Again

No Written Summons Needed!

May 9

Change for Equality: This morning 9th of May, Mahmoud Peyqambarzadeh-Zeinab’s father- along with Zeinab’s lawyer went to the revolutionary court. Her lawyer, Nassim Ghanavi, was not allowed in but Zeinab’s father was permitted to enter. Zeinab’s friends had also come to the court to post bail for her.

Zeinab’s friends and her lawyer waited outside for about 5 hours before Zeinab’s father finally came out of the court. He was furious. At first, when he had spoken with the court official, the official had told Zeinab’s father that he would speak with the judge on his behalf, but later he had switched to a harsh attitude. The officials had told him, "Why didn’t you bring your daughter in when we called you on the phone? Do you know what it means to have custody of someone? When we call and say bring her, you should bring her." Mr. Peyqambarzadeh had then explained that he hadn’t disagreed, but had merely asked for a written court summons. "If there was a mistake, please pardon me," he said. But they didn’t accept his apology and complained that "anything we say gets published." "I asked them to at least permit me to see my daughter, so that I could give her medicine and some money. But they refused my pleas."

When asked about Zeinab’s bail, Peyqambarzadeh explained that court officials did not even discuss the issue of bail with him. “They only told me to leave and didn’t allow me any visits with my daughter either. They were angry and shouted a lot and told me that they have reactivated Zeinab’s previous criminal [for when she was arrested on the metro for distributing pamphlets about the Campaign]”. Zeinab’s father explained further that he worries for his daughter’s safety because they won’t tell him what they are going to do. "Is it a crime to ask for a written summons?" he asks.

Nassim Ghanavi, Zeinab’s lawyer says the revolutionary court is acting illegally, "if an order for bail has been issued, then they should allow us to post it. If there is an arrest warrant they should tell us the reason for the arrest. Zeinab had explained that she would go to court if she received a written summons, so she has not done anything illegal and acted within her rights.”

Courts Refuse to Accept Bail, Zeinab Remains in Prison

May 8

Change for Equality: Mahmoud Peyqambarzadeh, along with Zeinab’s lawyer, Nasim Qanavi, went to the Revolutionary Courts to post bail in an effort to secure the release of his daughter. In her short phone conversation yesterday, Zeinab had informed her father that she was being transferred to Evin because she was unable to post the 20 million toman bail required of her by the courts. According to Ms. Qanavi, the Security Branch of the Revolutionary Courts refused to allow them entry into court or to post bail for the release of Zeinab. Qanavi went further to explain that “court officials offered us no explanation, except to say that they had informed the “accused,” meaning Zeinab, about the amount of bail required of her.”

“We have secured the bail and if an order for bail has indeed been issued, why don’t they give us an appropriate response as to the status of my daughters case?” explained Mahmoud Peyqambarzadeh. “They have given me no information about Zeinab. Instead the officials have asked me why I did not bring Zeinab to court earlier.”

Apparently prior to receiving a written summons, court officials had contacted Zeinab’s father and urged him to bring her to court, otherwise they threatened to place her under arrest. In response, Zeinab’s father had urged court officials to abide by their own laws and regulations and issue a written summons for Zeinab. Telephone summons are not legal and only written summons are legally binding. As a follow up to their conversation, the courts issued a written summons for Zeinab. Upon receiving this summons Zeinab appeared in court, which resulted in her arrest and transfer to Evin prison.

Zeinab contacted her father from Evin prison this morning and informed him that she was being held in the public Ward 3 of Evin Prison, where Mahboubeh Hosseinzadeh and Nahid Keshavarz, two other members of the Campaign who were imprisoned while collecting signatures in early April spent nearly two weeks. Zeinab is being held in the Youth section of of Ward 3, where most inmates are charged with crimes of a sexual nature.

Another Women’s Rights Activist Arrested, Others Summoned to Court

May 7

Change for Equality: Zeinab Peyqambarzadeh, a women’s rights activist and an active member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, who was among the 33 women arrested on March 4th during a peaceful gathering outside the Revolutionary Courts, was arrested again today. Peyqambarzadeh reported to the Security Branch of the Revolutionary Courts this morning, Monday May 7th, after she received a summons in relation to her arrest in March. While the summons was written last month, it was only presented to her two days ago on May 5th, after which she is allowed three business days to appear in court. A few hours after entering the courthouse, Zeinab contacted her father, to let him know that she was being transferred to Evin Prison.

“She could only speak briefly and in the phone conversation explained that she had been asked to put up 20 million Tomans (roughly 20,000 Euros) bond. Zeinab explained that she would not be able to put up the hefty sum requested from the courts, and as such she was transferred to Evin prison,” explained Mr. Peyqambarzadeh, Zeinab’s father. “I do not own my home and am currently renting, as such there is no way I can come up with this sum of money in return for the release of my daughter” Mr. Peyqambarzadeh explained. Latest reports indicate that Zeinab is currently under arrest and being held in Evin prison.

In related news, Maryam Hosseinkhah, a journalistm, women’s rights activist and a member of the Women’s Cultural Center, and Fatemeh Govaraie, a women’s rights activist, both among the 33 women arrested on March 4th, were summoned to court. The courts issued a summons for Maryam Hosseinkhah to the third party guarantor who had placed bond for her release from prison. Hosseinkhah’s guarantor is responsible for ensuring that she appears in court.

Fatemeh Govaraie’s guarantor was also contacted by the courts and informed that should Ms. Govaraie not appear in court in the three day time period required of her, a 10 million Toman sum would need to be paid. Both women will have to appear before the Revolutionary Courts within three days.

Both women were summoned in relation to their arrests, along with 31 others, on March 4th, when women’s rights activists staged a peaceful protest outside the Revolutionary Courts, in objection to the increasing pressure on the women’s rights activists and the trial of 5 of their colleagues.

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