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Prison sentences for four members of The Call of the Iranian Women NGO

Status: 
Imprisonment
About the situation

On 21 August 2022, three women human rights defenders Akram Nasirian, Maryam Mohammadi and Esrin Derkale were transferred to Evin prison in Tehran to begin prison sentences. Together with Nahid Shaghaghi,the three women human rights defenders have been sentenced to two years and three months in prison because of their advocacy for women’s rights.

About Maryam Mohammadi

Nahid Shaghaghi, Akram Nasirian, Maryam Mohammadi and Esrin Derkale are women human rights defenders and members of The Call of the Iranian Women NGO, which focuses on empowering women in disadvantaged situations, such as at times of natural disasters. The NGO has been active in capacity building of women in different provinces in Iran, including through literacy classes and public advocacy.

 

24 August 2022
Prison sentences for four members of The Call of the Iranian Women NGO

On 21 August 2022, three women human rights defenders Akram Nasirian, Maryam Mohammadi and Esrin Derkale were transferred to Evin prison in Tehran to begin prison sentences. Together with Nahid Shaghaghi,the three women human rights defenders have been sentenced to two years and three months in prison because of their advocacy for women’s rights.

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Nahid Shaghaghi, Akram Nasirian, Maryam Mohammadi and Esrin Derkale are women human rights defenders and members of The Call of the Iranian Women NGO, which focuses on empowering women in disadvantaged situations, such as at times of natural disasters. The NGO has been active in capacity building of women in different provinces in Iran, including through literacy classes and public advocacy.

On 4 December 2019, the Branch 26 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced each woman human rights defender to three years in prison on the charge of “gathering and colluding against national security;” six months in prison for “propaganda against the state;” and eight months in prison for “not wearing a hijab in public”. After the application of Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, the most severe single sentence of three years in prison on the charge of “gathering and colluding against the national security” was applied. The sentence was reduced to two years and three months in prison after it was appealed.

Akram Nasirian was arrested in Tehran on 29 April 2019 and released on bail of 2 billion IRR from Evin prison on 26 May 2022. Maryam Mohammadi and Esrin Derkale were arrested respectively in Garmsar, Semnan province on 8 July 2019 and 28 July 2019, and transferred to ward 209 of Evin prison before being released on bail on 17 September 2019. Additionally, Nahid Shaghaghi was arrested on 15 May 2019 in her house in Tehran and released on bail on 22 June 2019. The women human rights defenders were denied access to a lawyer during their detentions and were summoned to Evin Prison despite having posted bail. The women human rights defender stated that those who had posted the women human rights defenders’ bail had been threatened last week with the confiscation of their properties, had the four woman human rights defenders not presented themselves to prison.

Akram Nasirian, Maryam Mohammadi and Esrin Derkale were transferred to Evin prison, where there are worrying reports about the spread of a new wave of COVID-19 and prison authorities are refraining from testing and quarantining the inmates showing symptoms.

In a statement published on Instagram, the four wrote: “While we are imprisoned, Mafiosi and embezzlers who have endangered the lives of millions of people remain free… We have only sought to be a voice of protest over the pain of discrimination against Iranian women. In the eyes of thieves and dictators, defence of equality is interpreted as a crime. Nevertheless, no prison walls can silence the call for women's equality."

Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned by the imprisonment of the women rights defenders especially amidst the failure of prison authorities in Evin prison to respond efficiently and effectively to the display of COVID-19 symptoms. Front Line Defenders is particularly concerned, given the recent escalation of the violent enforcement of the hijab on t he Iranian women in the streets and prosecution of the anti-obligatory-hijab campaigners.