Iran: Call for release of human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience

The International Solidarity network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws, joins civil society groups and organisations such as Amnesty International, The Feminist school, The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and The Observatory in condemning the recent wave of arrests of over 18 women's rights activists and the harsh sentences passed on three journalists in December 2009 and January 2010.

After the incidents of civil unrest and the state’s crackdown on protesters during Ashura, a large number of activists have been arrested. Some of the many women activists included in this recent wave of arrests, are: Mansoureh Shojaee, Zohreh Tanekaboni, Badarolssadat Mofid, Mahin Fahimi, Leyla Tavassoli, Noushin Ebadi, Nasrin Vaziri, Nilofar Hashemi Azar, Atiyeh Yousefi, Bahareh Hedayat, Nafiseh Asghari, Maryam Ziya, Mahsa Hekmat, Parisa Kakayi, Forough Mirzayie, Sara Tavsoli.  Women activists who were arrested before Ashura: Shiva Nazarahari, Azar Mansouri, Samiye Rashidi, Zahra Jabari, Kobra Zaghe Doust, and Mahdiyeh Golrou, remain in prison.

(6 January 2009) Islamic Republic authorities are attempting to shut down the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, and to stop the human rights activities of the student alumni group ADVAR, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported on 6 January 2009. Some members of the groups are being arrested, and others are under intense pressure to halt their work.

Members of the Committee: Parisa Kakaie, Mehrdad Rahimi, Shiva Nazarahari, Kouhyar Goudarzi and Saeed Hayeri were arrested on 2 December 2009, as reported by the Campaign.  Previously, on 1 December 2009, Committee members Saeed Kalanaki and Saeed Jalalifar were arrested. Both are being held in the public ward in Evin prison. Jalalifar has been denied any visits. The Committee maintains that arrested members are being forced to confess links with the Mojahedin Khalq Organization, an opposition group operating abroad.

The state has arrested key members of student alumni group ADVAR, a unit devoted to monitoring human rights violations and advocating on the issue. On 2 January, ADVAR members Rouzbeh Karimi and Forouq Mirzaie were arrested. Rashid Esmaieli, of the Central Council of ADVAR, was arrested on 24 December 2009 while suffering from serious health problems.

For the latest human rights developments in Iran visit the Campaign’s website at

According to Amnesty International, more than 60 foreign institutions, including human rights organizations, were banned. A statement issued by the Iranian authorities on Tuesday also designates as subversive a number of foreign media outlets, thereby criminalizing contacts with them, further obstructing reporting on human rights violations. Such moves are a breach of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party, which pertains to freedom of information.

Bahman Ahmadi Amou'i and Saeed Laylaz have been sentenced to prison terms, Bahman Ahmadi Amou'i also to flogging. Keyvan Samimi Behbehani remains in solitary confinement. All three men are prisoners of conscience, currently held in Evin prison.  Bahman Ahmadi Amou'i, an editor at the business daily paper Sarmayeh which was closed by the authorities on 2 November, was sentenced to seven years and four months’ imprisonment and 32 lashes on 4 January 2010.  Saeed Laylaz, also an editor at Sarmayeh, was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment on 2 December 2009.


Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:     via website: (English) (Persian)   
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary in Tehran
Mr Ali Reza Avaei
Karimkhan Zand Avenue
Sana’i Avenue, Corner of Alley 17,
No 152
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Dear Mr Avaei

And copies to:
Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani
Bureau of International Affairs, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827 (please keep trying)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the third update to UA 171/09 (MDE 13/062/2009). Further information:, and

Amnesty International, Feminist School, Observatory, ICHR