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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

a judge is required to designate an amount or condition for the accused, commonly known as bail.331 Article 134 of the Code requires that the amount "be in accordance with the importance of the crime, severity of punishment, reasons and tools for the accusation, possibility of flight of the accused and destroying the signs of crime, background of the accused, his health, age and respect in the community."332

The law does not provide guidance on what are important crimes and what amount is in accordance with those crimes. However, Iranian human rights lawyers have noted that "judges who are in the business of trying political prisoners heed the demands of their leaders in the military and economic centers of power" and portray the accused to be so dangerous that the proposed amount of bail issued "will be disproportionate to the importance of the alleged crime committed, as well as his health, age, and respect in the community."333

Article 9 of the ICCPR explicitly states that "[i]t shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial." The U.N. General Assembly has noted that:

[t]he arrest or detention of such a person pending investigation and trial shall be carried out only for the purposes of the administration of justice on grounds and under conditions and procedures specified by law. The imposition of restrictions upon such a person which are not strictly required for the purpose of the detention or to prevent hindrance to the process of investigation or the administration of justice, or for the maintenance of security and good order in the place of detention shall be forbidden." 334

The United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women noted the harassment of women's rights activists as well as the use of high bail amounts to punish them, in her report on the conditions of women in Iran to the Economic and Social Council in 2006.335

Women's rights activists detained following the 2009 election believe that high bails were set in an effort to punish them and discourage them from continuing their activism. When detainees were unable to pay the full bail, the authorities negotiated third party financial guarantees, often with family members. These guarantees put heavy economic pressure on the detainees and their families to remain silent. This method continues to be particularly effective in Iran 's weak economy.

Parisa Kakaee was released only after a financial guarantee was set at a third of her parents' monthly income. She explained that it would have to be paid if she did not appear in court when summoned, and noted that unfortunately, her parents are renters." 336 Other examples of exorbitant bails for the release of women's

[331] Criminal Code of Procedure, supra note 289, art. 132.
[332] Id. art. 134.
[333] Mehrangiz Kar, Vasigih Ast ya Mujazat? [Bail or Punishment?], Rooz Online, November 24, 2009, available at http://www.mehrangizkar.net/archives/000491.php.
[334] Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, G.A. Res. 43/173, ¶ 36(2), U.N. Doc. A/RES/43/173 (1988) available at http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/RES/43/173.
[335] Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Integration of the Human Rights of Women and a Gender Perspective: Violence Against Women, Addendum: Mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran, ¶¶ 39-40, 58, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/61/Add.3 (2006).
[336] Interview with Parisa Kakaee (April 14, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).

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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