Iran releases all but 3 detained women

By NASSER KARIMI Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has released all but three of 31 women detained during a peaceful protest in Tehran earlier this week, a lawyer said Thursday.

Those released were ordered not to attend a rally outside the Iranian parliament later Thursday to mark International Women's Day, said Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer for two of the released women.

Most were freed on bails ranging from $11,000 to $55,000.

One woman still in custody, Jila Baniyaghoob, is a reporter, the lawyer said. "Her job requires her to attend gatherings."

The women were detained Sunday while protesting the prosecution of five other female activists on criminal offenses for a demonstration in June 2006. Those women are currently on trial.

During the June protest about 200 women demanded equal rights for women and the nullification of a law allowing Iranian men to have four wives.

It was not clear why the three women continued to be held. Calls to judicial officials were not immediately returned on Thursday, the beginning of the weekend in Iran.

Iran's Islamic law imposes tight restrictions on women. They need a male guardian's permission to work or travel. Women are not allowed to become judges, and a man's testimony carries more weight than a woman's. Still, they have more rights than their counterparts in Saudi Arabia and are active in business and politics, allowed to vote, and run for most public posts.

Dadkhah said the arrests "had no logical justification" because the women were just gathering peacefully.


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