Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          


Public Statement

CONTACT: press@wfafi.org   

January 14, 2011


All out War Against Iranian Women

Human Rights Must be at the Center of Policy Towards Iran

BOSTON, MA- The spike in executions this past month resulting in 46 hangings in twenty days should be a major source of concern for the international human rights community; as both men and women are facing increasing and harsher penalties. Based on news received from the WFAFI network within Iran, there are currently close to 20 women facing execution in the coming months; the most recent of these being the death sentence of Iranian-Dutch citizen, Zahra Bahrami, who was arrested during the December 2009 Ashura protests. Zahra spent many months in the notorious Ward 209 of Evin prison as well as in solitary confinement. During this time, while under intense psychological and physical torture, Zahra claimed she was forced to confess to untrue charges made against her, which included transportation and sales of narcotics. According to Judge Salavati, one of the political charges against Bahrami is being an enemy of God, which is punishable by death.
Additionally, execution is not the only measure targeting women; on December 31st the, the 36th Branch of the Tehran Appeals Court sentenced human rights activist, Shiva Nazar Ahari to four years in prison, exile and 74 lashes. Shiva has been in Evin prison since her elections for over a total of over 12 months, three months of which was spent in solitary confinement. She was indicted on the charge of Moharebeh or waging entity against God, and conspiring against the regime. On the same day, final sentence for two women's rights activists, Maryam Bigdoli and Fatemeh Masjedi, was upheld by the Qom Providence Judiciary. These two women are to serve six months in prison, as well as fines, for their work with the One Million Signature Campaign, which defends the rights of women. Furthermore, according to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, last week, Judge Pirabassi of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Nasrin Sotoudeh to eleven years in prison. She is also banned from practicing law and leaving the country for twenty years. Sotoudeh, an attorney, was arrested in September 2010 for providing legal counsel to participants of the 2009 uprisings as well as Shirin Ebadi, the famous human rights attorney who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her work in defending women and children. On the same day of Sotoudeh's verdict,

While the Iranian regime wages a war against women inside the country, it also enforces violence against its women-led opposition based in Iraq, through its Iraqi surrogates. Last week, an attack against Camp Ashraf, home to the main Iranian opposition group known as the PMOI/MEK, resulted in 108 injured, more than 83 of which were female camp residents. Residents of Camp Ashraf are declared as "Protected Persons" under the 4th Geneva Convention, therefore, such ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis are also legally reflective on the United States and the Iraqi government.

WFAFI deplores these heinous crimes committed by the misogynist mullah's dictatorship, and calls upon the Western nations, particularly the United States, to vocally take a stance in condemning these egregious human rights violations. The deafening silence on grave human rights violations in Iran and humanitarian issues in Camp Ashraf is unacceptable. WFAFI calla on the entire human rights community to renew and escalate campaigns on these cases, in particular for the death sentence against Zahra Bahrami and the humanitarian situation in Camp Ashraf. We have seen what happens when the international community comes together in condemning the regime for its atrocious crimes in the past, and are convinced that once again the community has the influence and responsibility to save lives by taking a firm stance on human rights.




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