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February 3, 2009

Women’s right defender imprisoned in Iran

Washington DC – Last Thursday, Alieh Eghdam Doost, who was arrested for demonstrating in the June 12, 2006 Hafte Tir Square protest against discriminatory laws, was taken under guard from her home in Fouman City, Iran to the Revolutionary Courts Office of Implementation of Sentences to serve a mandatory 3 year prison sentence.  This will be the first sentence implemented in the case of a women’s rights activist in Iran.

Eghdam Doost was arrested on June 12, 2006 along with 70 other participants and held in Evin Prison for five days.  She was sentenced by the 15th security branch of the Revolutionary Courts to three years for acting against national security by participating in an illegal gathering and to four months and 20 lashes for disturbing public order and peace. The appeals court reduced Eghdam Doost’s sentence by four months and 20 lashes to three years of mandatory prison sentence.

Police said the demonstrations were illegal because participants did not have a permit. Sussan Tahmasebi, a member of the Campaign for One Million Signatures, an Iranian group with the goal to obtain one million signatures against discriminatory Iranian laws to achieve womens’ equality, has defended Eghdam Doost’s innocence.  In a blog post today, the campaign announced: “It should be recalled that under Article 27 of the Iranian Constitution the right of peaceful assembly is authorized, these penalties were unconstitutional.” In an email to Campaign subscribers, Tahmasebi wrote: “we hope that activists inside Iran as well as the international community will respond with swift condemnation.” 

Tahmasebi is herself appealing a partly suspended two-year jail sentence for the same rally.

According to Nasim Ghanavi, one of Eghdam Doost’s lawyers, the only option remaining for Eghdam Doost is to request a judicial review under amendment 18 of the Law Regulating Public and Revolutionary Courts.

Human Rights First has an alert in support of Eghdam Doost. You can sign it here: http://action.humanrightsfirst.org/campaign/Azad.




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