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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

On July 24, 2010, government security forces raided lawyer Mohammed Mostafaei's offices in Tehran in retaliation for comments he made to the international media in support of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani-a mother of two recently sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Mostafaei has represented many women's rights activists including Shadi Sadr, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Hengameh Shahidi. When the agents failed to find Mostafaei, they arrested his wife and brother-in-law, and are holding them to Evin Prison. They have accused Mostafaei of links to the MEK, and have threatened that his family members will not be released until he turns himself in.198 Mostafaei recently fled to Turkey.199

Narges Mohammadi

Narges Mohammadi, the deputy head of the Defenders of Human Rights Center who was stopped in the airport in May 2009,200 was arrested at her home on June 10, 2010 at 10 p.m.201 The agents did not present Mohammadi with a proper arrest or search warrant. They took her to Evin Prison and held her for four days without providing an explanation of the charges against her or a warrant for her continued detention. Ultimately, she was charged with propaganda against the regime, membership in Defenders of Human Rights Center, and gathering and conspiring against the regime." 202

Several years ago, Mohammadi had developed a lung embolism, a condition that requires that she not be kept in confined spaces. While at Evin, she was kept in solitary confinement which aggravated her condition. She lost consciousness, suffered temporary paralysis, and collapsed roughly 14 times while she was in Evin. On one occasion, she lost consciousness and fell down seven steps while on her way to interrogation. Her interrogators then transported her to interrogation in a wheelchair.203 At some point, the prison doctor told Mohammadi's interrogator that if he kept her at Evin, she would turn into "a second Zahra Kazemi."204 Mohammadi was released on July 2, 2010 on 50 million tomans bail (roughly USD $50,000). She was hospitalized and is slowly recovering.205

3.3 Arrests of Leaders, Members and Signature Collectors of One Million Signatures Campaign

Leaders and members of the One Million Signatures Campaign - ranging from organizers to women who collect signatures - have also been targeted for arrest and harassment. Many have been charged with acting against national security and/or disrupting the public order. Some examples follow.

Mehrnoosh Etemadi, a One Million Signatures Campaign activist in Isfahan was arrested at her home on November 23, 2009. Security officers confiscated her books, educational materials and a computer case. Prior to her arrest, Etemadi had been summoned and threatened several times over the phone. Etemadi was released on December 8, 2009 after posting 50 million tomans bail (roughly USD $50,000), and after spending fifteen days in Isfahan's Central Prison. She was charged with "action against national security

[198] See Letter of Shadi Sadr to Iranian Bar Association, July 28, 2010 (on file with IHRDC).
[199]See Attorney in Stoning Case Seeks Asylum as Client Awaits Court Decision, CNN, August 5, 2010, available at http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/08/05/iran.stoning.lawyer/.
[200] See supra note 115.
[201] See Video File: Narges Mohammadi dar Bimaristan [Narges Mohammadi in Hospital], Voice of America, July 10, 2010, available at http://videos.wittysparks.com/id/827091494 [hereinafter Mohammadi in Hospital].
[202] Id.
[203] Id.
[204] Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian journalist, died from massive head injuries while in Evin Prison in 2003. See Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Impunity in Iran : the Death of Photojournalist Zahra Kazemi (2006), available at http://iranhrdc.org/httpdocs/English/pdfs/Reports/Impunity-in-Iran_Nov06.pdf.
[205] See Mohammadi in Hospital, supra note 201.

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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