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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

At least three of the four women named in the indictment are no longer in Iran . Ahmadi Khorasani's whereabouts are not known and she is presumably still in Iran. However, Ebadi had been outside the country since June 11, Sadr was arrested in July and left Iran in August 2009, and Ardalan left Iran for Sweden a month later.

The day before the election, Ebadi traveled to Spain to participate in a three-day conference.138 While there, she learned that her colleagues in Iran had been arrested shortly after the election and those who had not been arrested had gone into hiding to avoid imprisonment. The regime warned her family that she would be arrested if she returned to Iran . In November 2009, the government seized her personal belongings, and closed her and her husband's bank accounts. Authorities arrested Ebadi's sister and husband in an effort to intimidate Ebadi. On the eve of the one year anniversary of the June 12, 2009 election, Iranian state run television broadcast tapes of Ebadi's husband in detention making disparaging comments about his wife. He confirmed that the comments were made under duress.139

Sadr was arrested in the morning of July 17, 2009 while on her way to Tehran University to attend Friday Prayer led by Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Sadr was walking with a group of women's rights activists along a busy road when unidentified plain clothes men approached her in a gray Peugeot car. One of the men yelled to his colleagues to grab Sadr. At first, Sadr thought they were referring to someone else. However, the men grabbed her and threw her in the car. Sadr was too shocked to protest and sat in the car, while her companions screamed and protested. Once Sadr realized the men had not presented her with a warrant, she got out of the car and demanded to see identification and/or a warrant. The officers ignored her demands. During the scuffle, Sadr managed to briefly escape. However, there was no crowd of people in which to blend. One of the men came after her and ripped off her overcoat. Sadr kept running and the agent pulled off her head scarf. Eventually, the agent caught Sadr and dragged her back to the car." 140

In the car, the three men kept Sadr's head down so she could not see where they were taking her. Nonetheless, she realized they were taking her to the Tracking Office (Daftar-i Paygiri) on Vali Asr Street in the center of Tehran that houses personnel from Iran 's Ministry of Intelligence. They held Sadr for 12 hours until the protests of the day ended. Men and women who had been arrested in the protests were brought in continuously throughout the day.141

Sadr later learned that the authorities had planned in advance to arrest her on her way to Friday Prayer. They were after her specifically-the arrest was targeted, not random. She speculates that the authorities had tapped her phone and learned of her plans to meet with fellow women activists that morning." 142

Around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. that night, the agents transferred Sadr and the other detainees at the Tracking Office to Evin prison. They put Sadr in a car with two other women and warned her that if she lifted

[138] Ebadi received death threats in the spring of 2008 for her defense of Baha'is and religious minorities, and the Iranian government has prevented her from speaking at international conferences and lectures. See Top Iranian Dissident Threatened, BBC News, April 14, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7347047.stm; see also Malaysia Scraps Nobel Laureate's Speech for Iran, Associated Press, October 22, 2008, available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-10-24-2622160713_x.htm.
[139] Shirin Ebadi: ‘We Don't Want a Wall Around Iran ', AFP/Reuters, March 10, 2010, available at http://www.onlydemocracy4iran.com/2010/03/10/shirin-ebadi-we-dont-want-a-wall-around-iran/. Shirin Ebadi Nobel Peace Prize Medal ‘Seized by Iran ', British Broadcasting Service (BBC) News, November 27, 2009, available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8382008.stm. Filmi kih Pas az Hasht Mah dar Shab-i 22 Khordad Pakhsh Shud [A Movie that Was Broadcasted on the Eve of June 12th, Eight Month after It was Made], Deutsche Welle, June 11, 2010, available at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5677039,00.html.
[140] IHRDC Interview with Shadi Sadr (June 13, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).
[141] Id.
[142] Id.

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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