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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

3.2 Arrests of Other Women's Rights Activists

Other women's rights activists were arrested and detained in droves in a government attempt to stifle their voices and dismantle the movement. Interrogation sessions revealed that the arrests and detentions were, at least in part, a governmental attempt to gather intelligence about the leaders of the movement and its operations.155 The two alleged connections set forth in the indictment - between the women's rights movement and foreign powers or political opposition parties - are reflected in the interrogations suffered by detained activists. Interrogators repeatedly and insistently alleged connections between the activists with either foreign powers, leftist political parties, or sometimes both.

But this crackdown on the women's movement went significantly deeper than those in 2006, 2007, and 2008, which had focused primarily on the leadership. This time, women who reported from the streets became targets for intimidation and worse. Iranian lawyers who have traditionally represented women's rights activists were also arrested. The following are some examples.

Shiva Nazar Ahari

Shiva Nazar Ahari, a veteran women's rights activist and founding member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR),156 was arrested on June 14, 2009 without a warrant. Reports, including from her mother, indicate that she was arrested pursuant to Mortazavi's letter.157 Her interrogators forced her to call members of the CHRR and instruct them to shut down the CHRR website, while the interrogators listened closely. She was released on September 23, 2009 after posting heavy bail.158

Nazar Ahari was arrested again on December 20, 2009, together with Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Jila Bani Yaghoub, as she was preparing to board a bus headed to Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral in Qom. Intelligence agents had a list of targets and reprimanded her and Abbasgholizadeh for organizing the bus trip, leading Abbasgholizadeh to believe that the agents had been listening to their phone conversations. She recalls that following the election, most of her women activist friends said their phones were under surveillance. The agents took aside Abbasgholizadeh, Nazar Ahari and Jila Bani Yaghoub, and put them in a car. Bani Yaghoub was released immediately but Nazar Ahari and Abbasgholizadeh were driven to Evin prison." 159

Although Abbasgholizadeh was released within 24 hours, Nazar Ahari remains in prison. She does not have regular access to the outside world, and reports on her detention conditions are scarce.

[155] IHRDC Interview with Aida Saadat (April 15, 2010) (on file with IHRDC); IHRDC Interview with Parisa Kakaee (April 14, 2010) (on file with IHRDC); IHRDC Interview with Tania Ahmadi Kaliji (April 19, 2010) (on file with IHRDC); IHRDC Interview with Asieh Amini (June 11, 2010) (on file with IHRDC); IHRDC Interview with Shadi Sadr (June 13, 2010) (on file with IHRDC); IHRDC Interview with Parvin Ardalan (July 6, 2010) (on file with IHRDC); IHRDC Interview with Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh (July 6, 2010) (on file with IHRDC). [156] Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) is an independent human rights monitoring and reporting group founded in 2005. See http://www.chrr.biz/.
[157] Bilataklifiyih Shiva Nazar Ahari Pas az Nazdik bih Yik Sal Habs [Unknown Situation of Shiva Nazar Ahari after a Year of Imprisonment], Committee of Human Rights Reporters, July 13, 2010, available at http://www.chrr.biz/spip.php?article10180. Shiva Nazar Ahari, az Kudaki ta Haft Mah dar Zindan [Shiva Nazar Ahari, from Childhood to Seven Months in Prison], Committee of Human Rights Reporters, July 20, 2010, available at http://www.chrr.biz/spip.php?article10247.
[158] IHRDC Interview with Parisa Kakaee (April 14, 2010) (on file with IHRDC); Shiva Nazar Ahari's Mother: "My Daughter Has Denied the Charges against Her", The Green Voice of Freedom, April 28, 2010, available at http://en.irangreenvoice.com/article/2010/apr/28/1768; Iran: Imprisoned Activist Shiva Nazar Ahari to go on Trial for ‘Acts Against National Security', Association for Women's Rights in Development, May 20, 2010, available at http://www.awid.org/Issues-and-Analysis/Library/Iran-Imprisoned-activist-Shiva-Nazar-Ahari-to-go-on-trial-for-acts-against-national-security.
[159] IHRDC Interview with Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh (July 6, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).

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Sexual Violence, Gender Rights, Death Penalty, Political Killings, Executions, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Travel Restrictions, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Protests, Free Association, Child Rights, Political Freedom, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination