Iran: Women’s movement activist begins 3 year prison sentence

WLUML Networkers
Women’s Rights Groups Issue Announcement Concerning the Sentencing of Alieh Eghdomdust:
On Thursday, January 29th, Judicial officials from the Revolutionary Court of Tehran arrested Alieh Eghdomdust, a women’s rights activist, in her home and summoned her to Evin prison, where she will serve three years imprisonment.
Alieh Eghdomdust was imprisoned for participating in a lawful and peaceful demonstration in June 2006/1385 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran.

The news of Alieh’s arrest came as a shock for all of us. According to 27th Amendment of the Iranian Constitution, peaceful gatherings are deemed lawful; Alieh’s only crime was participating in a peaceful gathering. The rash and impetuous sentencing of Alieh to three years imprisonment for this 'crime' is a direct violation of her civil rights.

The unexpected sentencing of Alieh signals the first step towards an increased repression of the women’s movement by government authorities. This comes at a time when various groups involved in the women’s movement have been issuing complaints to the Iranian judiciary concerning the violent and unlawful police treatment they had been experiencing for the last few months. Although there have been several complaints, there has not been a single case in which the Judiciary has taken our complaints seriously and acted to protect our civil rights by bringing the offenders to justice or charging the harassers with a crime.

All of this is occurring as we get closer to International Women’s Day on March 8th. This has forced us to come to the conclusion that law enforcement officers purposefully and unfairly chose to take the most innocent colleagues and comrades in order to pressure and undermine our movement. But we wish to remind them that the infatigable activists of this movement have worked for years, and we will continue to work relentlessly in a lawful and peaceful manner. We, too, expect the authorities to stay within the confines of the law. Otherwise, if the authorities choose to continue their unlawful and unthoughtful acts, the women’s movement will surely react. We will not remain silent. We will use all tools at our disposal to object to these civil rights abuses.

We, the many different groups making up the Iranian women’s movement, unequivocally and entirely condemn the arrest of the Alieh and ask that everyone involved, especially the Head of the Judiciary, act as quickly as possible to reverse this decision, free Alieh, and return her to her normal life.

The statement has been issued by the following groups:

* Association of Iranian Women
* Feminist School
* Women’s Field
* Women’s Committee of Tahkim Vahdad ( Solidarity ) Organization
* Repertoire Committee of Human Rights
* Human Rights Committee of Iranian Scholars Organization
* Women’s Commission of Tahkim Vahdat ( Solidarity ) Office Iranian Researchers’ Association
* Pars Women’s Association
* Rah Avard Association
* Farasoo Association ( Tabriz )
* Campaign of Italy
* Fasl-e Sabz ( Green Season ) Site
* Avaye Zan Journal
* Independent Society of Iranian Women in Austria
* Hastia Andish Association
* One Million Signature Campaign in Dusseldorf , Germany

The effort to collect signatures of active civil groups, women’s movement and human rights groups continues. Please add the name of your group in support of this statement to free Aliyeh Eghdomdust, by sending it to the following email address:

This is the first sentence of a women's rights activist involved in the Haft-e Tir Protest whose sentence has been executed, as opposed to suspended sentence, and as such is a particularly grave development in the ongoing persecution of human rights' defenders.