Iran: Three women’s rights defenders remain in detention
This year, the International Women’s Day is marked by the attack, arrest and detention of women's rights defenders in front of Tehran's Revolutionary Court. On Sunday March 4th, thirty three women were arrested following a peaceful demonstration. As of now thirty of these women have been released. Those released confirm that the remaining women— Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh, and Jila Baniyaghoub,— are still in ward 209 of Evin Prison (run by the Ministry of Intelligence of Islamic Republic of Iran, designated primarily for the political prisoners). The reason for their detention is drafting a statement that called for the gathering.
On Sunday March 4, 2007, women’s right defenders gathered in front of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to protest the court proceedings of Nooshin Amhadi Khorasani, Parvin Ardalan, Shahla Entesari and Susan Tahmasebi, Fariba Davoodi Mohajer—five prominent members of Iranian women's organizations who were arrested in pervious peaceful gatherings. As indicated by the women’s right activists and their legal teams the charges are in violation of the article 27 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Iran, which guarantees the citizens’ right to assemble peacefully. In violation of such right, the security police forces attacked women’s legal and peaceful gathering and arrested thirty-three protestors.
On March 5, fifty family members and friends of detainees gathered in front of the main entrance of Evin prison to protest the illegal arrests of their loved ones and to demand their immediate release. Consequently, prison authorities declared that Evin prison does not have the authority to release the detainees, as they are kept in ward 209, which is monitored and supervised by the Ministry of Intelligence.
In the following days, two groups of women were released from prison. This morning, at around 2:00 am, another group of fifteen women were released. It seems the reason for keeping the three women in detention is that they have accepted full responsibility for drafting the call for the gathering that took place on March 4.
Many internationally human rights and women organizations and prominent figures including Iranian political and social activists, lawyers, writers, journalists, and academics have denounced the arrest of women’s rights advocates demanding their immediate and unconditional release, including Louise Arbor, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Irene Khan, Amnesty International General Secretary, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Women Living Under Muslim Laws, Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice and the Observatory. Yet, more women’s rights advocates are being summoned to the court and threatened by arrest. This is while the authorities are promising release of more detainees.