Iran to Prosecute Women’s Rights Activists

The Iranian Judiciary will hold a trial on March 4 to prosecute four female activists for peacefully protesting Iran’s discriminatory laws against women. The four women, Nusheen Ahmadi, Khorasani, Parvin Ardalan, Sussan Tahmasebi and Shahla Entesari, were detained by Iranian police after gathering in a public demonstration and calling for reform.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is demanding that the women be dismissed due to lack of legal grounds for their arrest. The freedom to peaceful assembly is guaranteed not only by the Iranian constitution, but also by Article 20 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 21 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a party.

These four women are not the first to be prosecuted for activism in Iran. In February, three journalists and activists were arrested on their way to a journalism conference in India, and in June 2006, Iranian police violently disrupted a peaceful women’s rights protest.

A recent campaign, “Change for Equality,” aims to increase awareness of the need for democratic reform. The campaign’s goal is to collect one million signatures in support of absolute gender equality. Women’s rights activist Shirin Ebadi supports the campaign, saying, “The true victory of women will occur when discriminatory laws are lifted.”


HRW release 2/28/07; Shirin Ebadi essay 2/24/07

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