Iran: Parastou Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli detained as a new wave of arrests is carried out in Iran

The international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws is shocked to learn that the Iranian security forces have carried out a new wave of arrests against journalists and women’s rights activists. This is a worrying development, as it shows the pressure on political activities and prisoners are mounting in Iran.

Parastou Dokouhaki (blogger and women’s rights activist) was arrested on Sunday in Tehran. Security agents entered her home, confiscated her computer and personal effects, and detained her. It was later revealed that she has been formally charged with “propaganda against the state” and is being held and interrogated in Evin Prison.

Parastou used to work with Zanan Magazine, a reform-minded feminist magazine that was active for 16 years before being shut down by the authorities in 2008; likewise, she was also active in the White Scarf Campaign, which fought for women’s access to public stadiums in Iran.  In 2007, Dokouhaki and 32 other women’s rights activists were arrested while attending protests against the trial of fellow activist Sussan Tahmasbi. They were charged with “gathering and colluding against national security, disturbing public order, and disobeying the police”.  However, Dokouhaki was acquitted of all charges and released.

Despite her earlier involvement with numerous Reformist publications and her previous activism, Dokouhaki’s family say that she has not been engaged in any political activity in recent years. She has been working as a translator at the well-respected Shariati Foundation. The reasons for her arrest at this time remain very unclear.

Marzieh Rasouli (blogger and journalist) was arrested on Tuesday, also in Tehran. Rasouli has long worked as a freelance journalist, notably for art and cultural publications, but also in recent years for a number of Reformist and independent publications. It has been reported that she is charged with alleged acts against national security and is being held in Evin Prison. Her personal belongings, including her mobile phone and computer, were also confiscated upon her arrest.

WLUML demands that Dokouhaki and Rasouli are given access to their lawyers and their rights respected while in custody. As a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, arbitrary arrest and detention go against Iran’s legal obligations; all those detained must be given a swift trial by due process or be immediately released. 


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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
Office of the President,
Pasteur Avenue,

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 
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Karimkhan Zand Avenue 
Sana’i Avenue, Corner of Ally 17, No 152 
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran 
Salutation: Your Excellency 

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