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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

The women were tried at the tenth branch of the Revolutionary Court in Qom on January 3, 2010, and charged with activity against national security, attempting to overthrow the state, publication of lies, and propaganda against the state through membership in the One Million Signatures Campaign. At the time of their trial, nearly eight months after their arrests, the women reported that much of the personal property that had been seized during their arrests - including cash and a gold watch - had yet to be returned." 114

On the same day as Masjedi's and Bidgoli's arrest, authorities prevented two prominent women's rights activists from traveling to Guatemala where they were to speak about the role of women in democracy at a conference scheduled for May 10 to 12. The women, Narges Mohammadi, a former aide to Shirin Ebadi and deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, and Soraya Azizpanah, a member of the Peace National Council and the Center to Clean Mine Fields, were stopped in Imam Khomeini Airport and ordered to report to Tehran's Revolutionary Court within 72 hours. The women had already received exit stamps on their passports. The authorities did not provide an explanation.115

3. Targeting of Women's Rights Activists and Defenders Post-Election

Demonstrations broke out immediately following the June 13 announcement by Iran 's Election Commission Chief Kamran Daneshjoo that the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was winning the election by a wide margin. Thousands of Iranians, from many backgrounds, took to the streets demanding respect for their votes. Increasingly large demonstrations took place on an almost daily basis until June 20, when several demonstrators were killed. The Basij militia and other law enforcement personnel used violence against unarmed and peaceful protestors, and thousands of demonstrators were arrested. At the same time, the regime, in an effort to aggressively quash any form of dissent, immediately began arresting and harassing anyone deemed to pose a threat. The authorities made sweeping arrests of human, minority and civil rights activists, as well as journalists, lawyers, and students.

Some demonstrators took to the streets for the first time. However, many women's rights activists and defenders were veterans of civic protest." 116 These women had been repeatedly interrogated and jailed over the years.

[113] Court Session to Hear Accusations Against Two Campaign Activists in Qom; Mansoureh Shojaee Contacted Her Family, Change for Equality, January 6, 2010, available at http://www.we-change.org/english/spip.php?article629; Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli, Two Women's Rights Activists, Are Released, Iran Human Rights Voice, May 22, 2009, available at http://www.ihrv.org/inf/?p=2349.
[114] Court Session to Hear Accusations Against Two Campaign Activists in Qom; Mansoureh Shojaee Contacted Her Family, Change for Equality, January 6, 2010, available at http://www.we-change.org/english/spip.php?article629.
[115] Iran Bans Nobel Laureate's Aide from Travelling, Agence France Presse, May 10, 2009, available at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hNHkPOMLnp7AWObhE_OC1iIesR9Q; Narges Mohammadi: Nimidanam Chira Mamnu'ul Khuruj Shudih-am [Narges Mohammadi: I Don't Know Why I Have Been Travel Banned], Radio Farda, May 9, 2009, available at http://www.radiofarda.com/content/F7_NMohammadi_SAzizpanah/1624858.html.
[116] See Video File: Musahibihyih Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh dar Tilivision-i Sidayih America [Interview of Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh with Voice of America Television], Voice of America, March 8, 2010, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkKY_URyVE0.

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Tagged as:

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