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Iran: Very Urgent ! Alert for Sentenced Iranian activists

Thursday 8 May 2008, by siawi

[(Our Iranian friends have been condemned to being whip lashed by the Iranian authorities for having spoken up for women’s rights activists. A big campaign is needed to get the Iranians to annul the sentence. Send your letters of protest at the earliest possible. Thanks.
- Marieme

NOS AMIES IRANIENNES VIENNENT D’ÊTRE CONDAMNÉES À DES COUPS DE FOUET POUR AVOIRFENDU LEURS AMIES DEJA ARRÉTÉES. NOUS AVONS BESOIN D’UNE ÉNORME CAMPAGNE POUR FAIRE ANNULER LA SENTENCE. ENVOYEZ VOS LETTRES DE PROTESTATION LE PLUS VITE POSSIBLE. MERCI
- marieme)]

Dear all,

This last month has seen a spate of Iranian friends and activists sentenced to harsh - albeit suspended - sentences of whipping as well as prison terms.

The suspended sentence means that for the duration 6 months to 2-3 years, anything they do the authorities are unhappy with will make the sentence applicable.

The intention seems to be to intimidate women activists into silence - who remain one of the few vocal groups after the disruption of the teachers and students’ movements.

Amongst those sentenced is Nasrin, a WLUML networker, many of you met in Penang last year, as well as others. Nasrin is not intimidated and has given interviews condemning the actions by the authorities (We still await the sentencing of Shaadi and Mahboobeh)

Can you please all circulate to as wide a network as possible.
Please see attached a sample letter, here pasted below.
Many thanks

women living under muslim laws

His Excellency,
Ayatolah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi
Head of Ministry of Justice,
Jaam Street,
Vali-e-Asr Avenue,
Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency,

I/we write to express my/our deep concern at the news of the revolutionary court in Tehran sentencing numerous women to harsh sentences. Four women’s rights activists, Nasrin Afzali, Nahid Jafari, Zeinab Peighambar-zadeh, and Minou Mortazi, have been given suspended sentences of whipping (10 lashes) and six months imprisonment. They have been given this harsh sentence for having been part of a small group of people who gathered outside the Revolutionary Court in March, 2007 to register their objections to the trial of five other women activists earlier charged for taking part in a peaceful demonstration in 2006 to demand the removal of laws discriminating against women. Subsequently, Parvin Ardalan has also been given a suspended sentence of 10 lashes and 2 years imprisonment and on May 1st 2008 the 13th Branch of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Rezvan Moghadam to a 6 months prison term and 10 lashes, suspended for 2 years.

We are alarmed at the new trend of handing down sentences of whipping for women activists, which seems a deliberate attempt to humiliate since the sentence places them in the same category as criminals and those carrying out vandalism. Women activists have been sentenced for “acting against national security, disrupting public order, and refusing to follow police orders.”

It is a matter of grave concern that although the Iranian constitution grants the freedom of peaceful demonstration, police forces often use violent means to disrupt peaceful assemblies and arrest women demonstrators who are subsequently handed down harsh sentences. We are worried that through such treatment of their citizens and women activists, the Iranian authorities are attempting to ensure that women remain silent and give up their basic democratic rights as citizens of Iran.

We call upon Your Excellency, as the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, to take appropriate steps that would enable the authorities to withdraw these cases and to ensure that citizens are enabled to exercise the right to express their opinions as provided for under the constitution.

Yours Sincerely