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Iranian Women’s Rights Activist Beaten and Arrested

Iranian women’s rights activist, lawyer and journalist Shadi Sadr was beaten and arrested by plainclothes police officers last week as the government continues to crack down on dissidents. Sadr was walking with friends to Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s Friday sermon when several men approached and seized her without displaying a warrant, according to the Los Angeles Times. Witnesses also report that the men beat Sadr with batons when she tried to escape before forcing her into a waiting car.

Sadr’s husband says intelligence officers searched his house and demanded keys to his wife’s legal office, reported CNN. He also stated that Sadr called him after her arrest and said she was detained in Ward 209 of Tehran’s Evin prison. This is the same ward where human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari, who was arrested June 14 and for whom Sadr was acting as a defense lawyer, is believed to be detained, according to Amnesty International.

Sadr founded Zanan-e Iran (Women of Iran), the first website dedicated to women’s rights activism in Iran, and is a member of the activist group Women’s Field. She also served as director of Raahi, a legal center for women, until it was shut down. In 2007, Sadr was imprisoned for two weeks after being one of 33 women arrested for protesting the trial of five women activists, according to Amnesty International.

In a press release addressing Sadr’s arrest, the international non-governmental organization Women’s Learning Partnership states, “The recent political protests have brought on increased persecution of women’s rights activists, who have been regularly arrested and harassed since 2006 for peacefully advocating for their equal rights before the law…We call upon the women’s rights community and all human rights activists and organizations to speak out in defense of Shadi Sadr and all those who are being unjustly persecuted.”

Sources:

Los Angeles Times 7/17/09; CNN 7/18/09; Amnesty International Press Release 7/17/09; Women's Learning Partnership Press Release 7/17/09