Washington, DC – Esha Momeni, a graduate student at the School of Communications, Media and Arts at California State University, Northridge was arrested in Tehran on October 15, 2008 and detained in section 209 of Iran’s Evin Prison – an area under the control of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence. According to Amnesty International, she has not yet been charged with any offense and is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Ms. Momeni was nearing the end of a two month stay in Iran during which time she visited with family members and conducted interviews for a Master’s thesis on the Iranian Women’s Rights Movement. According to Momeni’s thesis advisor, Professor Melissa Wall, her objective was to conduct scholarly research, not to agitate for political or social reforms.
Iran is one of few countries in the world that is not a party to The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. Persecution of Iranian women’s and human rights defenders has intensified in recent years, according to Amnesty International.
Iran is a signatory of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), however. By ratifying this international treaty, Iran has legally obligated itself to uphold the following principles:
1) No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
2) Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.
3) Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release.
The Iranian-American community favors increased contact between the people of Iran and those living outside of Iran. “We ask the Iranian government to cease actions which hinder the ability of individuals of Iranian descent to visit their homeland and their families,” said NIAC founder and President Dr. Trita Parsi.
Human Rights organizations have reported an increase in rights violations in Iran over the past few years. NIAC strongly opposes all violations of human rights in Iran.
“We also call on the Iranian government to stop the persecution of human rights defenders working peacefully to end gender inequality and increase respect for human rights in Iran,” added NIAC Board Member Dokhi Fassihian.
NIAC supports Amnesty International’s guidelines for taking action on behalf of Ms. Momeni. Please click here and scroll to down to “Recommended Action” toward the middle of the page to learn more about how you can help.
To view NIAC’s coverage of the arrest of several prominent Iranian-American scholars in Tehran during the summer of 2007, please follow the links below.