Public Statement by Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran
FOR IMMIDIATE RELEASE
BOSTON, MA- -More than 32 Iranian women have been arrested in Tehran for protesting in front of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court. The protestors declared solidarity with five women on trial over their roles in a demonstration which was broken up by police in June last year. Those arrested yesterday are believed to have been taken to the notorious Evin prison. Among them are: Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, Parvin Ardalan, Sussan Tahmassebi, and Shahla Entesari. According to Javad Montazeri, spokesperson for the families, none of those arrested are allowed to communicate with their families. Montazeri’s wife, Assieh Amini, is among those arrested on Sunday morning by some 200 security officials. According to Montazeri, family members are now gathered in front of Evin prison since “we weren’t able to get any information and were only told that the Revolutionary Court was not authorized to give any statement nor information on their case. At no time have we been told officially where these women are nor what they are accused of.”
Thousands of Iranian women plan to hold a rally on Thursday to mark the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2007. Montazeri insists the arrests on Sunday was a pre-emptive measure “in an attempt to dissuade other women from taking part in a rally organized to mark the day.” According to lawyers on this case, women were violently beaten on their arrest, are likely to be charged with subversive activities and taking part in an illegal rally. Attorneys say “In the Islamic Republic fighting for equal gender rights is considered a subversive act threatening national security”. Rally participants report the police chief was “using obscene words and describing us as ‘misfits'”. Others also say police and plain-clothes security men chased away journalists and onlookers and then loaded the women onto a curtained minibus and drove them away.
Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism (WFAFI) reminds the world community that last June’s demonstration in Tehran city center, some 200 women protested against the violation of women’s rights in Iran. After clashes with police, over 40 women and about 30 men were arrested. It is unclear however how many of them are still in prison.
The state-sponsored violence against women and widespread political and economic suppression under this regime has escalated greatly with Ahmadinejad in the office. Yesterday’s reactions show once more that there is no respect for the basic principles of human rights. None of the demands of those arrested are against Islam. The weakened theocracy in Tehran can not tolerate even the slightest opposition.
WFAFI applauds the courageous women of Iran who actively oppose the gender apartheid and call upon the international community, the human rights and women’s rights organizations to hold Tehran responsible for its crimes against women. WFAFI urges the United Nations to call for immediate release of these women and all other political prisoner held by Tehran’s fundamentalist regime.