Pressures on Women Human Rights Defenders, Female Activists Continue Despite Election Results and General Sense of Hope

Friday 12 July 2013

Change for Equality: With the election of Hassan Rouhani as the future President of Iran, there was a general sense that pressures on activists would end or lessen. Women’s rights activists were no different and had hoped that with the election of a new President who had signaled changes in policies of exerting pressures on social activists, a more conciliatory approach would be adopted by security forces and the judiciary as well. Unfortunately, to date this has not happened and despite releases of some political prisoners or furloughs, pressures on others continue. It is hoped that with the start of President elect Rouhani’s term, both the Judiciary and security forces will also relieve pressure on activists.

The following is an update on the situation of some women human rights defenders, female journalists and activists who have been pressured over the last month.

Fariba Pajoo, Reformist Journalist Arrested

According to reports, Fariba Pajoo, a journalist, was arrested in her home on July 11 and transferred to Evin prison. According to news sources, Fariba Pajoo was arrested after the contested presidential elections in 2009 and was released on bail after spending 124 days in prison. She was later sentenced to serve a year mandatory prison term, which was changed to a suspended sentence for a period of 5 years by the 54th Branch of the Revolutionary Court. It is not clear why Fariba Pajoo was arrested, but her friends and colleagues have expressed great concern for her on social media sites.

Samira Razaghi, Medical Student in Shiraz University Arrested

According to reports form Daneshjoo News, Samira Razzaghi, a Physician and a student of Radio Therapy at the Shiraz Medical University was arrested on the 26th of June. According to reports, until July 2 she was being held in the detention center of the Provincial Office of the Ministry of Intelligence in Shiraz. This arrest takes place while Samira Razzaghi is in her final term at university. According to student rights activists at Shiraz university, this arrest has taken place at the urging of university head, Dr. Imanieh. The student activists have informed Daneshjoo news that Dr. Hadi Imanieh, the head of the Medical University had prevented Samira Razzaghi from registering for courses, without offering any reason for this action. In the end , the university was forced to comply with an order from the Court, allowing Ms. Razzaghi to register for courses. It should be noted that Dr. Samira Razzaghi has received honors on several occasions as a medical student and in her studies for specialization. She is also a student activist, and served as the editor of the student publication and was a member of the Islamic Student Organization (before the student group was prevented from activity by the university).

Fatemeh Kheradmand, Journalist Sentenced to Serve One Year Mandatory Prison Term

According to reports, Fatemeh Kheradmand, journalist was sentenced to serve a year in prison, by Judge Pirabassi, from the 26th Branch of the Revolutionary Courts. She was charged with the spreading of propaganda against the State, through cooperation with the publication “The Green Pen.”

Ms. Kheradmand was arrested in January 2012 in her home and was transferred to Evin prison, Section 209. She was released 25 days later. Her court was held in late October 2012, along with Saeed Madani and Ehsan Houshmand.

Fatemeh Kheradmand is a graduate of the school of journalism at Azad University in Tehran. She was one of the activists working on the Campaign of Mir Hossein Mousavi for the 2009 elections. Her husband Massoud Lavasani is also a journalist who was arrested following the 2009 elections.

Shiva NazarAhari Fined for Failure to Return on Time to Prison from Furlough

Shiva NazarAhari, a women’s rights and human rights activist, was tried again by the Revolutionary Courts and was sentenced to pay a fine. According to reports published by the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, approximately 3 weeks ago, Shiva NazarAhari, who is a founder of the group and previously served as the Director of this human rights organization, was charged by the Revolutionary Courts for “absence from prison” following a furlough for the Iranian new year in March. Shiva had been granted furlough after spending 184 days in prison. NazarAhari was sentenced to pay a fine in the amount of 100,000 tomans (approximately $50) on this charge.

Nazarahari is serving a four year prison sentence on security charges, such as fighting the state, spreading of propaganda against the state and illegal gathering. The charges have been brought against her in relation to her human rights activities.

Nasrin Sotoodeh Returned to Prison after Short Furlough

According to reports from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Nasrin Sotoodeh, was summoned back to prison on Sunday night July 7. She had been granted furlough from prison on June 23, for four days. She returned to prison with a 10 day delay. According to Reza Khandan, Nasrin Sotoodeh’s husband, she was returned to prison, despite promises made that her furlough would be followed by permanent release from prison. Khandan also explained that while on Furlough Sotoodeh requested that her time out of prison be renewed. She wrote two letters to the public prosecutors office, but the letters requesting increased furlough were unanswered. Nasrin Sotoodeh has been sentenced to served six years in prison. She has been in prison since September 2010.


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