Feb 192009

From the Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran (WFAFI):

CNN News – January 17, 2009 Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested several women for doing missionary work for the Baha’is, the religious group whose persecution by the Islamic republic has been condemned by human rights activists and governments around the globe. Tabnak, a semi-official Iranian news service, reported the development but did not specify how many women were arrested or when they were seized. The arrests took place in Kish Island, Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf, the agency said. Tabnak said some of those arrested came from Tehran and others from abroad. “For a long time now, those who wanted to recruit young Iranian men to join the Baha’is used attractive women as bait,” the site said. “Israel has given sanctuary to the leaders of this perverted group [Baha’is] for many years, and the United States and Britain have provided them with billions of dollars to engage in propaganda.”

Daily Sundial – January 19, 2009 CSUN communications grad student Esha Momeni, who was arrested and jailed in Iran in mid-October of last year, is still unable to leave the Middle Eastern country after a travel ban against her was renewed. Iranian Judiciary spokesperson Alireza Jamshidi told AFP January 13 that the ban was reissued because a “new issue has opened and the examination of this issue will take about one month.” Momeni, who had been working on her thesis project on Iran’s women’s rights movement, was arrested October 15, 2008 after she was pulled over for allegedly passing another vehicle illegally on a highway. Her property was then seized, including video footage for her thesis documentary. The student was released on bail November 10 after spending 25 days in solitary confinement at Evin prison in Tehran. Momeni had been interviewing women’s rights advocates with the One Million Signatures campaign, an organization seeking to change Iranian law to recognize women equal to men.

South Africa News 24 – January 20, 2009 Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi has commuted a sentence of stoning to death handed down to a woman convicted of adultery to 100 lashes, a report said on Tuesday. The woman, identified only as 48-year-old Kobra N, was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of her husband and engaging in an adulterous relationship, the daily Etemad Melli newspaper reported. She was sentenced to eight years in prison for the first crime and stoning to death for the second. The report said the woman served the eight-year jail sentence and was kept in prison for another five years awaiting the sentence of stoning to be carried out. It added that her husband, a drug addict, had forced her into prostitution.

NCRI Website – January 20, 2009 Ahmad Roosbehani, chief of the State Security Forces– mullahs’ suppressive police–Ethics Division showed some pictures to the state-run news agency ISNA regarding what he called women “mal-veiling,” on Monday. “Short garments, tight pants, short jacket and long boots are just a few of the outerwear strictly forbidden for ladies in public,” Roosbehani said. First time offenders will be given verbal advice and if repeated legal action will be brought against them, Roosbehani added. Roosbehani said that the new act is in accordance with the so-called “boosting public security plan.” The so-called “boosting public security plan” was first introduced in April 2007 to combat popular uprisings. Mass street arrests of hundreds of thousands of women and youth under the pretext of “mal-veiling” and cracking down on “thugs and hooligans” followed. In the same period, more than 300 prisoners were sent to gallows.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – January 21, 2009 The arrest of internationally renowned AIDS specialists, brothers Arash and Kamyar Alaei, in June and the prison sentences against them for allegedly plotting a U.S.-backed soft revolution in Iran have generated concern among rights activists and the country’s scientific community. Their lawyer has said that they have been sentenced to six and three years in prison, respectively. Their family has said they are innocent, and have warned that they may be under pressure to make false statements. Their conviction is seen as a fresh example in an increasing state crackdown on activists in Iran and a warning particularly to those with connections with the United States.The two men, who ran HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs in Iran, have been celebrated internationally for their work. Abdolfatah Soltani a prominent human rights lawyer and cofounder of the Center of Human Rights Defenders believe the government is trying to create fear in the society ahead of the June 12 presidential election.”By using these terms that have no legal basis in Iranian laws” — Soltani says, highlighting the “soft revolution” tag that officials have used — “they are trying to deceive public opinion so that they have an excuse and justification for cracking down on civil society.”

Australia Herald Sun – January 21, 2009
Sisters Zohreh, 28, and Azar Kabiri, 29, each mother of one, were arrested in February 2007 after the husband of one of them presented a film allegedly showing them with other men. Last week “Tehran penal court judges acquitted the two sisters of adultery in a retrial and they will be freed soon”, the reformist Etemad daily said. In August 2007 the two received 99 lashes for an “illegitimate relationship” and were then freed. They were later rearrested and sentenced in November 2007 to death by stoning for adultery. The verdict was halted after Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi said the video was not sufficient evidence for the ruling and that their living conditions had not been considered in the trial, the report said. Their lawyer argued that the defendants could not be tried twice for the same offence. Zohreh and Azar’s husbands had withdrawn their complaint, declaring that the women in the video footage were not their wives, Etemad said.

Reuters News Agency – January 24, 2009 Counting students and housewives among the ranks of the employed has helped lower Iran’s jobless rate, an official at the statistics office said in remarks published Saturday.The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is widely expected to stand for re-election in June, recently said the country’s unemployment rate had fallen below 10 percent.The statistics official was quoted as saying that students and housewives had been included in groups regarded as employed and that this has contributed to lowering the rate. He did not say how they were treated previously in the statistics. “Considering these groups of people as employed caused the unemployment rate to fall in the autumn compared to the summer,” the official, identified only by his last name Anari, said. He did not give any figures or other details.Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005 on a pledge to share Iran’s oil wealth more fairly but reformist critics blame him for squandering windfall oil income earned in recent years and fuelling inflation.They say the government has drawn down its reserves even during good times, including from a fund designed to help at times of falling oil prices, such as now. Iran is the world’s fourth-largest crude producer.

WFAFI News – January 25, 2009 News collection of recent domestic violence against women in Iran:
– An Iranian women kills her newborn baby after her husband threatened her with divorce. The woman who was a mother of 5 girls, was threatened by her husband because she did not bring him a son to this world.
– A rural woman who was in her 6th month of pregnancy was killed by her 35 year old husband. The man who turned himself to the local police said he could not control his anger and murdered his pregnant wife with knife
– A mutilated body of a young woman was discovered in western Tehran. The body was found in a dumpster and after examination it was determined that she was a victim of a honor killing.

The Associated Press – January 26, 2009 An Iranian football club said Monday it has suspended three officials for allowing the club’s female team and its youth male squad to play against one another – the first such match since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Esteghlal, one of Iran’s top two football clubs, said its disciplinary committee suspended two officials for a year each while a third person was suspended for six months. A fourth official was fined, a report posted on the club’s Web site said.According to the club, Mohammad Khorramgah, the club’s technical manager, was suspended for a year and fined 50 million rials ($5,000). The only woman among the suspended – Saeedeh Pournader, head coach of the female team – also got a year’s suspension. Mostafa Ardestani, head coach of the youth male squad got the six month’s suspension and a 20 million rial ($2,000) fine. Prominent Iranian footballer and manager of the club’s football academy, Ali Reza Mansourian, got a written rebuke and a fine of 50 million rials ($5,000), the club said.

Iran Human Rights – January 31, 2009 According to sources in Iran, the Iranian woman, Masoumeh Ghale Jahi, was executed yesterday morning January 29. Iran Human Rights had earlier this week reported that Masoumeh was scheduled to be executed in Thursday January 29.The news has not been conformed by the Iranian media yet. However the journalist and human rights defender Asieh Amini has also confirmed the news in her weblog

The Associated Press – February 1, 2009 A lawyer for an Iranian activist says police detained the woman while she was campaigning for equal marriage rights for women. The lawyer says Nafiseh Azad was detained Friday while collecting signatures for a two-year-old campaign pushing for equal rights for women in marriage, divorce and inheritance. Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh said Sunday that collecting signatures is not illegal. Over the past three years, however, Iranian authorities have detained many women seeking equal rights. In Iran, women need a male guardian’s permission to marry. Only Men have the right to seek divorce, and men inherit twice what women do from their parents. Calls to authorities seeking comment on the detention were not returned late Sunday.

Reuters News Agency – February 4, 2009 Iran did not issue visas for a group of U.S. women badminton players to compete in the country this month, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, blaming a “time-consuming process” in handling such applications. The U.S. State Department said Monday eight players along with four coaches and managers would visit Iran on February 3-9 to take part in a competition.It would have been the first sporting exchange between the two foes since the January 20 inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama, who has said he will pursue greater engagement with the Islamic Republic. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said they would now not be able to come to the country, which this month marks the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed shah.

The New York Times – February 12, 2009 In a year of marriage, Razieh Qassemi, 19, says she was beaten repeatedly by her husband and his father. Her husband, she says, is addicted to methamphetamine and has threatened to marry another woman to “torture” her. Rather than endure the abuse, Qassemi took a step that might never have occurred to an earlier generation of Iranian women: She filed for divorce. Women’s rights advocates say Iranian women are displaying a growing determination to achieve equal status in this conservative Muslim theocracy, where male supremacy is still enscribed in the legal code. One in five marriages now ends in divorce, according to government data, a fourfold increase in the past 15 years. It is not just women from the wealthy, Westernized elites. The family court building in Vanak Square here is filled with women, like Qassemi, who are not privileged. Women from lower classes and even the religious are among those marching up and down the stairs to fight for divorces and custody of their children.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – February 14, 2009 Sahar Yazdanipour, the wife of a jailed student activist, has been detained by authorities, Radio Farda reports. Yazdanipour was arrested after she went to court to ask about her husband, who is reportedly on a hunger strike. During her interview with Radio Farda, she again called for the release of her husband, a Shiraz University student. Student activists at the university have reported growing pressure there from the authorities, and increasingly close monitoring of their activities. Several students have been jailed or summoned to the university’s disciplinary commission in recent weeks.

 February 19, 2009  Posted by on February 19, 2009

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