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Iranian Women’s Rights Activists Released, NGOs Closed

Iranian women’s rights activists Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh were released from jail yesterday. Both women had been arrested with some 30 other activists just before International Women’s Day while protesting the detainment of four jailed women’s rights activists and Iran’s discriminatory laws against women. While the other activists arrested with them were released within a week, Sadr and Abbasgholizadeh had been detained for more than three weeks, of which nine days were spent in solitary confinement. Last week, they were moved to the same cell and were given the opportunity to read newspapers. Yesterday, they were both released for more than 200 million toman ($215,000) in bail.

Before their release, the Iranian Revolutionary Court closed the offices of the two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that Sadr and Abbasgholizadeh ran. Sadr founded Raahi (The Path to Empowerment), which provides legal counsel for marginalized and under-represented women in criminal and family law cases. Abbasgholizadeh ran an NGO Training Center, which helped train community activists open and build advocacy NGOs. On March 15, Iranian government agents inspected, filmed, and sealed the two centers’ offices, according to Women Living Under Muslim Laws, an international solidarity network.

Over 7,000 people joined the Feminist Majority Foundation’s virtual march, to stand with our sisters in Iran. Participants also sent messages promoting women’s rights in Iran to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Sources:

Women Living Under Muslim Laws release 3/15/07; Campaign to Free Women's Rights Defenders in Iran 3/19/07; AFP 3/19/07

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