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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

the first indictment as one of the leaders of the NGO subgroup of the alleged "velvet coup" against the Islamic Republic.173

Amini participated in the demonstrations in Tehran after the June 12 elections. Many of her journalist and civil activist colleagues were arrested. One Friday morning toward the end of July, a family friend called, said she was calling from a public telephone on Amini's street, and asked permission to come to Amini's house. Amini did not know the woman personally, but knew she was a friend of the family, so she agreed. The woman told Amini that she had just been released from prison where she had been held for two weeks. She had secretly made her way to Amini's house to personally warn her. She told Amini that she had been detained in the female ward of Evin and that while there, she and many other women detainees had been interrogated repeatedly about Amini. The interrogators asked about Amini and their relationship with her. The woman said she did not know why the interrogators were so fixated on Amini, and that they asked about other women activists as well-Shirin Ebadi and Shadi Sadr were examples. The woman advised Amini that she should leave her home or she would almost certainly be arrested.174

Amini left Tehran for a time but soon returned. On August 1, 2009, the indictment naming Koneshgaran as a principal agent in the "velvet coup" was read at the first show trial. Amini was shocked-the alleged facts discussed in the indictment seemed completely disconnected from reality. To her, "it seemed like they had written a fictitious screenplay and now they were looking for the actors."" 175

Amini knew that she needed to leave Iran with her child as soon as possible. She decided to accept an invitation to give a lecture in Sweden but planned to return. However, she received an email from a friend who warned that under no circumstances should she return to Iran . The friend had heard things during interrogation that indicated Amini would be in trouble should she return. Amini has not returned to Iran .176

Aida Saadat

Aida Saadat, a veteran women's rights activist, was brutally attacked and threatened by unidentified, plain clothes men in November 2009. She was returning home one night from visiting her sick father when two men overtook her in the middle of a deserted Tehran street, beat her and told her to stop her activism or else there would be consequences. During the summer, Saadat had helped organize the Mourning Mothers group and personally delivered a file containing allegations of prison rape to reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi. Saadat realized that the men knew exactly who she was-they told her that the beating was just a warning and that next time they would send her to where "the other eight" went. She knew this was a clear reference to the eight alleged rape victims in the case files she had delivered to Karroubi." 177

[173] The indictment claimed that, "[t]he executive arm of this project, or velvet revolution, has six subgroups: […] NGOs: this subgroup gained a lot of importance during the reform period. The West had reached the conclusion that NGOs had to be expanded in Iran , and was seeking ways to provide human, monetary and management resources to alleviate their weakened position. For this reason, institutions were established which were mainly based in The Netherlands. The responsibility of these institutions was to provide Iranian NGOs services such as training of personnel, acquisition of funds from foreign countries. […] Two prominent NGOs in the country are Koneshgaran (led by Sohrab Razzaghi, Manager of NGOs in the Interior Ministry of the reformist government) which received two million Euros from Dutch institutions, and the Hamyaran Institute, directed by Bagher Namazi." See Matn-i Kamil-i Kayfarkhast-i Muda'ialumum Alayhih Mutahamin-i Prujihyih Shikastkhurdihyih Kuditayih Makhmali [Complete Text of the Indictment of the Prosecutor General Against the Accused of the Failed Velvet Coup], Fars News Agency, August 1, 2009, available at http://www.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8805100944 [See www.iranhrdc.org for a paginated translation in English].

[174] IHRDC Interview with Asieh Amini (June 11, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).
[175] Id.
[176] Id.
[177] IHRDC Interview with Aida Saadat (April 15, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).

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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