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Arrest and Detention of Women’s Rights Activists Ms Maryam Bahreman and Ms Mahboubeh Karami

Saturday 21 May 2011


See online : Front Line

Two women’s rights defenders, Ms Maryam Bahreman and Ms Mahboubeh Karami, were arrested respectively on 11 May and 15 May 2011, and both continue to be detained. Maryam Bahreman is a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, also known as the Campaign for Equality, and founding member and General Secretary of Anjome Zana Pars (Pars Women’s Association), a women’s rights organisation which was established in 2003. Mahboubeh Karami is also a prominent women’s rights activist and signatory of the One Million Signatures Campaign. Maryam Bahreman is being held incommunicado and her whereabouts remain unknown.

Further Information In the morning of 11 May 2011, security officials, believed to be from the Ministry of Justice, entered the home of Maryam Bahreman and produced a detention warrant. They arrested her reportedly on foot of a warrant issued by the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz on the charge of “action against national security”. The security officials searched her home thoroughly for three hours and seized personal items including her laptop, her mobile phone and some books. They then took her away from her home to an undisclosed location.

On 11 May 2011 Mahboubeh Karami was served with a summons requiring her to report to Evin Prison in Tehran within three days to begin a three-year prison sentence. In February 2011 she was sentenced by a branch of the appeals court to three years imprisonment on charges of membership of a human rights organisation called Human Rights Activists in Iran, “propaganda against the system” and “involvement and conspiracy with intent to commit crimes against national security”.

The lower court had originally sentenced her to four years in prion but this was reduced by a year by the appeals court. She was previously arrested following a raid on her home on 2 March 2010. She suffered mentally and physically during her time in jail and was released on bail on 14 August 2010. She reported to Evin Prison on 15 May as required and was immediately arrested and detained. It is reported that she is suffering from acute depression.

Maryam Bahreman has been a prominent women’s rights activist in Shiraz for many years. Pars Women’s Association, which she co-founded, has published a magazine about women’s issues for seven years and organised conferences on International Women’s Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Maryam Bahreman and Mahboubeh Karami are members of the One Million Signatures Campaign, a petition campaign launched in 2006 by a network of people committed to ending discrimination against women under Iranian law and aiming to get one million people to sign their petition.

Front Line believes that the arrest and detention of Maryam Bahreman and Mahboubeh Karami is directly linked to their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of women’s rights and their fight to end discrimination against women in Iran. Front Line is seriously concerned about the physical and psychological integrity of both women human rights defenders while in detention.

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