Iran: Call for release of women's rights activist Maryam Bahreman

On Wednesday 11 May 2011, Iranian security forces arrested Maryam Bahreman, an Iranian women’s rights and civil society activist in Shiraz. Bahreman is a founding member, and was the general secretary, of the Association of Women of Pars (Anjome Zanan Pars), which was established in 2003. As a member of this association, she was active in many women's movement activities including the One Million Signature Campaign. Bahreman was also a participant at the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference in New York in March of this year, where she was on a panel about women and ICT. 

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Maryam Bahreman and her association were also a part of the Coalition of the Women’s Movement for Discussing Women’s Issues in the Election Campaign, which was launched before the 2009 Presidential election. The association used to organise conferences in the occasion of International Women’s Day on the 8th of March as well as the International Day against Violence Against Women. They also published a magazine, 'Forough', for 7 years, which was mainly about women's issues. Anjome Zanan Pars was closed in 2007, but Bahreman continued to meet with women’s rights activists and hold training workshops for university students.

According to reliable information, the security forces appeared at her home at 7:30 am on 11 May 2011 with a detention order and searched her home for three hours. The security forces searched everywhere, even her bedroom, and confiscated her personal items, including her mobile phone, books, and laptop. She was charged with “Actions against National Security”. No one has any information about her whereabouts.

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) calls for her immediate release, and the dropping of these politically-motivated charges. 

Our grave human rights concerns 

  1. Maryam Bahreman was subjected to arbitrary arrest and deprivation of her liberty. Article 9 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights decrees that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile"; that is, no individual, regardless of circumstances, is to be deprived of their liberty or exiled from their country without having first committed an actual criminal offense against a legal statute, and the government cannot deprive an individual of their liberty without proper due process of law.  
  2. Maryam Bahreman’s right to life has been threatened by the Iranian authorities because of the punishments attached to charges of ‘actions against national security’ being levied against her. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. 

13 May 2011

Image from Feminist School

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