Posted 2012/3/2

Iran-Update: Release of human rights defenders Marzieh Rasouli and Ms Parastoo Dokuhaki on bail

Ms Parastoo Dokuhaki

On 27 February and 26 February 2012, respectively, human rights defenders, Ms Marzieh Rasouli and Ms Parastoo Dokuhaki were released from Evin prison on bail of 3 billion Iranian Rials ($300,000).

Parastou Dokouhaki worked as a journalist with feminist magazine Zanan which was published for 16 years before it was shut down by the authorities in 2009. She was also active in the White Scarf Campaign which fought for women's access to public stadiums in Iran. Marzieh Rasouli is a blogger and freelance journalist who has written for a number of reformist and independent publications.

On 15 January 2012 Parastou Dokouhaki was arrested under the broad accusation of “propaganda against the State”. On 17 January 2012, Marzieh Rasouli was arrested at her home in Tehran on general charges of “acting against national security”.

On 25 February 2012, the official Organised Crimes Department published a list of the specific charges which have been brought against Parastoo Dokuhaki, Marzieh Rasouli, two other journalists, and a documentary filmmaker. These charges include, having a “Relationship with the BBC Persian television service,” “Creating a network for secretly and immediately attracting and training people across the nation, with the aim of attracting political and media elites,” “Collecting and transmitting personal and classified intelligence,” “Connections with the British intelligence service,” and “Attracting and employing as well as helping those who have been selected by the BBC Persian Service to leave the country,” and “Producing particular content for key programs of the BBC Persian.

While Front Line Defenders welcomes the release on bail of the two women human rights defenders it believes that their arrest, detention and the charges brought against them are directly related to the legitimate exercise of their right to freedom of expression and their human rights activities. Front Line Defenders reiterates calls on the authorities in Iran to immediately drop all charges against and Ms Marzieh Rasouli and Ms Parastoo Dokuhaki to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders and journalists in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

For further information please see Front Line Defenders' original appeal dated 24 Janaury 2012 (http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/17137).

You can find additional information on the situation for human rights Defenders in Iran. HERE