Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh (f), pictured at right
Shadi Sadr (f)

Released:
Zhila Bani Ya'qoub (f), journalist and human rights defender


Prisoners of conscience Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr remain detained in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran . Zhila Bani Ya’qoub was released on bail on 9 March.

Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh is said to suffer from arthritis and migraine, and Shadi Sadr from chronic stomach pain, possibly an ulcer. It is feared that neither women is receiving adequate medical treatment. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh has not been allowed to contact anyone since her arrest; Shadi Sadr has been allowed to telephone her husband twice.

On 12 March, one of the lawyers representing the two women, Farideh Gheyrat, told the AFP news agency the two women had received one-month temporary detention orders, saying that they both faced “two charges that have not been disclosed to me, in addition to the accusations of disturbing public order faced by all those detained." She added that she had protested against the orders, saying, "Temporary detention should only be ordered when investigations are not enough or it is feared that the accused will flee or destroy evidence. None of these are true in my defendants' case." It is believed that the undisclosed charges may include that of “acting against state security,” which carries a sentence of between two and five years’ imprisonment.

The two were among 33 women detained on 4 March during a protest in Tehran . Thirty detainees were released without charge between 6 and 8 March, although charges may be made at a later date. Some of those previously released have described the cells in which they were held as damp and cold, without toilet facilities. The detainees were apparently forced to sleep on the floor, and were required to share blankets for warmth. Those detained have also reported being blindfolded and interrogated by security forces during the night, depriving them of sleep. They were also denied access to medical treatment, although their families were told that all necessary treatment was being offered to them.

Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh is the editor of the Zanan (Women) quarterly journal and is a key member of the “Stop Stoning Forever” Campaign, launched in September 2006 to end the practice of stoning to death in Iran . She has also served as the director of the NGO Training Center , an organization aimed at strengthening civil society. In November 2004, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh was detained by security forces for over a month in connection with her human rights activities (see UA 306/04, MDE 13/046/2004, 11 November 2004 ). Shadi Sadr, a lawyer and journalist, is the director of Raahi, a legal advice centre for women. She founded Zanan-e Iran (Women of Iran), the first website dedicated to the work of Iranian women's rights activists (http://www.raahi.org) and she has written extensively about Iranian women and their legal rights. She has represented activists and journalists and has represented several women sentenced to execution, whose convcitions were subsequently overturned. She is also involved in the “Stop Stoning Forever” Campaign.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr were among 33 women arrested while protesting about the trial of five women's rights activists (Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, Shahla Entesari, Noushin Ahmadi Khorassani, Parvin Ardalan and Sussan Tahmasebi) in Branch 6 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on charges of "propaganda against the system", "acting against national security" and "participating in an illegal demonstration." The charges relate to their involvement in a peaceful demonstration on 12 June 2006 which demanded equal rights in law for women in Iran . The protest was forcibly broken up by security forces, who arrested at least 70 people.

The authorities in Evin Prison have a history of delaying or denying access to medical treatment to detainees, possibly to increase the pressure on them.

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