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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

On December 22 and 29, officials identifying themselves as tax inspectors took documents and computers from Ebadi's law office in Tehran, ignoring her objections that the materials contained information protected by attorney-client privilege. On January 1, 2009, a mob of basiji students attacked the building where Ebadi's home and office are located-shouting angry slogans against her and defacing the outside walls with hateful language as state security forces watched but failed to intervene. Two weeks later, the former secretary of the Center, Jinous Sobhani, was arrested without cause and detained for 55 days before being released on bail. Security forces also harassed and threatened other members of the Center until they tendered their resignations." 100

In February 2009, the regime implemented, for the first time, the prison sentence of a women's rights activist that had been imposed for her activism. Alieh Aghdam Doust had been sentenced to three years' imprisonment for her participation in a protest of the discriminatory laws against women held in Hafte Tir square in Tehran on June 12, 2006. She began serving her sentence on February 1, 2009 and is currently in Evin prison's women's ward. In March 2010, a judge summoned Eghdam Doust after she allegedly spoke in the women's ward about the history of International Women's Day on March 8. He charged her with "reciting an article and speech among the women and creating incitement about women's activities, negative propagation against the regime, insulting the President and the Supreme Leader, and propagation of socialism." The prison authorities held her in solitary confinement for a week and continue to deny her contact with a lawyer or her family." 101

Women associated with the One Million Signatures Campaign continued to be arrested, interrogated, imprisoned and charged with national security crimes. On January 30, 2009, the authorities arrested three members of the Campaign - Nafiseh Azad, Bigard Ebrahimi and Shahin Ebrahimi - in the mountains north of Tehran while they were collecting signatures for the Campaign's petition. Bigard Ebrahimi and Shahin Ebrahimi were released the next day on a financial guarantee of 20 million tomans (roughly USD $20,000). However, Azad was held in Vozara Detention Center until February 4, 2009, when she was released on a third party guarantee of 50 million tomans (roughly USD $50,000).102 She was charged with acting against national security by spreading propaganda against the state." 103

While Azad was in custody, security police searched her home." 104

[100] Open Letter by Shirin Ebadi to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Defenders of Human Rights Center, June 6, 2009, available at http://www.humanrights-ir.org/php/view_en.php?objnr=284. Sobhani was released on March 11, 2009 on approximately USD $70,000 bail pending the scheduling of her court date.

[101] Alieh Eghdam Doust to Serve Three Year Prison Term, Change for Equality, February 1, 2009, available at http://www.we-change.org/english/spip.php?article455; About Imprisoned Member of Women's Movement: Alieh Eghdam Doust, Feminist School, February 14, 2009, available at http://www.feministschool.com/english/spip.php?article241; Alieh Eghdam Doust bih Ittiham-i Khanish-i Tarikhchihyih Hasht-i Mars dar Zindan Dadgahi Shud [Alieh Eghdam Doust Was Taken to Court for Speaking of the History of March 8th in Prison], Change for Equality, March 26, 2010, available at http://www.we-change.org/spip.php?article5612.
[102] The Vozara Detention Center, officially The Detention Center for the Office of Combating Social Corruption, is a female detention center located on Vozara Street in Tehran. Tarh-i Ifaf dar Intizar-i Iran [Chastity Plan Awaits Iran], Radio Koocheh, May 2, 2010, available at http://radiokoocheh.com/article/32937. An arrestee of March 4, 2007 told Woman's Field website that the "hygienic conditions of Vozara are deplorable. It was so [bad] that we had to wash the sinks ourselves. The food was terrible and there wasn't even cups and spoons enough for everyone. Vozara didn't get enough light. There were lizards everywhere in the detention center. In some parts, the floor was not carpeted." A full report is available at Guzarish-i Tahqiq Piramun-i Naqz-i Huquq-i Bashar va Qanun-i Hifz-i Huquq-i Shahrvandi dar Murid-i Bazdasht Shudigan 13 Isfand 1385 [Investigative Report Regarding Violations of human Rights and Citizenship Rights that Occurred to those Detained on March 4, 2007], Roshangari, March 3, 2008, available at http://www.roshangari.com/as/sitedata/20080305214253/20080305214253.html#s18.
[103] Nafiseh Azad, Member of One Million Signatures Campaign Released after 6 Days Detention, Change for Equality, (February 5, 2009), available at http://www.we-change.org/english/spip.php?article463. Nafiseh Azad is Charged, Iran Human Rights Voice, April 10, 2009, available at http://www.ihrv.org/inf/?p=2137.
[104] Campaign-i Baynalmillaliyih Huquq-i Bashar dar Iran: Sarkub-i Fa'alan-i Huquq-i Zan dar Yik Sal-i Guzashtih Shiddat Giriftih Ast [International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran: Crushing of Women Rights Activists in Iran has Intensified in the Last Year] Advar News, April 17, 2009, available at http://www.advarnews.biz/women/8959.aspx.

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Sexual Violence, Gender Rights, Death Penalty, Political Killings, Executions, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Travel Restrictions, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Protests, Free Association, Child Rights, Political Freedom, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination