According to the information received, Ms. Samieh Rashidi, Ms. Maryam Zia, Ms. Atieh Youssefi, Ms. Mahsa Hekmat and Ms. Parisa Kakaï were respectively arrested at their place of residence on December 20, 2009, December 22, December 27, January 1, 2010 and January 2.
Ms. Rashidi and Ms. Youssefi are reportedly detained in Evin prison, Tehran. However, Ms. Zia, Ms. Hekmat and Ms. Kakaï’s whereabouts remain unknown to date and no information could be obtained as to whether charges were brought against the five women’s rights defenders.
The Observatory recalls that other “One Million Signatures” Campaign members, including Ms. Bahareh Hedayat, Ms. Shiva Nazarahari, Ms. Mansoureh Shojaie (founding member of the Campaign and of the Women’s Cultural Centre), Ms. Haleh Sahabi – all arrested at the end of December 2009 – and Ms. Bahman Ahmadi Amoui – arrested in July 2009 and sentenced on January 4 to seven years and four months’ imprisonment – also remain in detention to date.
The Observatory expresses its deep concern with the arbitrary detention of these women’s human rights defenders, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities amid the current general crackdown on the Iranian civil society, and calls upon the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them, as well as all human rights defenders presently detained in the country.
Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:
1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Samieh Rashidi, Ms. Maryam Zia, Ms. Atieh Youssefi, Ms. Mahsa Hekmat, Ms. Parisa Kakaï, Ms. Bahareh Hedayat, Ms. Shiva Nazarahari, Ms. Mansoureh Shojaie, Ms. Haleh Sahabi and Ms. Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, as well as all human rights defenders in Iran;
2. Disclose their whereabouts and release them immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;
3. Ensure in the meantime that they be granted access to a lawyer of their choice and to their relatives;
4. Put an end to acts of harassment – including at the judicial level – against them as well as against all human rights defenders in Iran;
5. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, its article 5(c), which reads that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, […] to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations”, and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
6. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.
* Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
* President Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 649 5880. Email: email@example.com
* Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com
* Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Manouchehr Mottaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 390 1999, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: email@example.com
* Embassy of Iran in Brussels, 15 a avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to diplomatic representations of the Islamic Republic of Iran in your respective countries.
For further information, please visit The Observatory