Monday, March 05, 2007

Iran: Arrests of women activists

March 05, 2007

Amnesty International Press Release

Amnesty International today called for the immediate and unconditional release of over 30 women activists who were arrested on Sunday, 4 March while staging a peaceful demonstration in Tehran. The organization believes the arrests may be intended to deter activists from organizing events to mark International Women's Day on 8 March.

The women were arrested outside Tehran's Revolutionary Court, where they had gathered to protest at the trial of five women charged in connection with a demonstration held on 12 June 2006 to demand that women be given equal rights with men under the law in Iran. The June demonstration was violently dispersed by security forces, who arrested at least 70 people.

Those arrested on Sunday, who included at least four of the five on trial, were taken to the Vozara Department for Social Corruption, a detention centre usually used for people accused of minor crimes, such as violations of the dress code. Family members of those detained are said to have gone to the Vozara Building in an attempt to gain access and secure the release of their relatives, without success. According to reports, all the women were later transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison, which is run by the Ministry of Intelligence and is outside the control of Iran's prison service.