Letter written by a number of Iranian women activists and their supporters to Ban Ki-moon
Honourable Ban Ki-moon
United Nations General Secretary
Cc: Honourable Madam Navanethem Pillay
United Nations High Commissionaire for Human Rights
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council
1 March 2011
Appeal to free Ms Zahra Rahnavard, Ms Fatemeh Karubi and Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karubi from prison
On the eve of the centenary of the International Women’s Day, the Islamic Republic
of Iran has held under house arrest and imprisoned, without warranty, charge and trial,
two women, who have been influential personalities within its own apparatus all
through the 32 years of its rule. Ms Zahra Rahnavard, writer, university professor and
a political figure, along with her husband Mr Mir-Hossein Mousavi, former Iran’s
prime minister and presidential candidate and Ms Fatemeh Karubi, former MP, along
with her husband, Mr Mehdi Karubi, former president of parliament and presidential
The families of these two couples have now joined the rank of the grieving families
disrupted by suppression, inquisition, execution and imprisonment; a by product of 32
years of a regime which took over a revolution which was due to bring about freedom
and social justice to Iran.
On April 2010 Iran was automatically endorsed to sit at the CSW as the number of
interested candidates matched the number of available seats. Although Iran is not the
only member state of the UN Commission on the Status of Women which has a
record of violation of human rights and women’s rights, current deterioration in the
situation is alarmingly progressing.
Iran is increasingly turning into a state, where no one is spared when they speak out
against bad governance and the abuse of trust and power. Raiding and ransacking
homes in the middle of night, arbitrary arrests of women, lawyers, journalists, workers,
students, human rights defenders and ordinary people; forced confessions under
physical and psychological torture and depravation, summary trials without the
presence of lawyers, or lawyers without knowledge of the clients’ files, long-term
prison sentences, death warrants and executions are on the rise. Psychological effects
of raiding homes and taking women away in the middle of night, keeping women in
solitary confinement without seeing their children has created disrupted families.
Mourning Mothers Groups face abuse, beatings and arbitrary arrest and detention on
visiting the graves of their loved ones or when seeking justice for their murdered
children. Families who gather at prison gates to know the whereabouts of their
children are beaten and detained.
The rejuvenation of the Iranian pro-democracy movement on 14 February 2011,
inspired by developments in the Middle East and North Africa and in support of the
people who have risen against dictators, alarmed and frightened the Islamic Republic
to the point that it resorted to poisonous tear gas with deadly consequences to disperse
the peaceful protestors. In Tehran, two university students were killed by bullets shots
from unknown marksmen. In the city of Shiraz another student was killed by being
thrown from a bridge in the subsequent peaceful demonstration. The number of those
detained on the day is yet to be known. Both Zahra Rahanvard and Fatemeh Karubi along with Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karubi, who are prominent figures in the pro-democracy Green Movement of Iran were put under complete house arrest on 14 February and later transferred into an unknown detention centre amid extraordinary security operations.
While Iran sits at the CSW, women of Iran are increasingly diminished of their civil
and human rights. Their demands for equality and the abolition of discriminatory
laws through peaceful collection of signatures had been responded by further
discrimination through passing bills to further facilitate polygamy and temporary
marriages. As a member state, Iran has rejected to sigh the UN Convention on
Discrimination Against Women (UNCDAW).
Women’s equality is recognized only in detention, imprisonment, suppression, rape,
executions and stoning to death.
Iranian women fought for their rights since 1905 before the birth of the International
Women’s Day. On the eve of the centenary of the International Women’s Day we
urge you to press for the release of all prisoners of conscience regardles of their gender and ideology from detention and prison including Ms Zahra Rahnavard and Ms Fatemeh Karubi and their husbands Mr Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi.
Women: Azadeh Davachi, Asieh Amini, Azadeh Kian, Asef Bayat, Aida Quajar,
Aida Sa’adat, Ayandeh Azad, Akram Mohamedi, Akram Khairkhah, Bahareh
Afghahi, Bahareh MirzaHossein, Boniota Papastathi, Elahe Amani, Parastou Forouhar, Dorna Bandari, Parisa Amadian, Parvin Ardalan, Soraya Falah, Hamideh Nezami. Khadijeh Moghadam, Sara Zare, Saghi Ghahremani, Sepideh Yusefzadeh, Sahar Mofakham, Samaneh Mousavi, Sudeh Rad, Sholeh Shams, Shahla Bahardoust,
Farzaneh Sabetan, Fery Fard, Zoha Agha mehdi, Sofia Sadighpour, Shirin Famili, Leli
Pourzand, Mojgan Servati, Shiva Nojoo, Nazenin Djavaheri, Golbarg Bashi, Simin Sharifi, Rezvan Moghadam, Rouhi Shafii, Roja Bandari, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Janet Afari, Effat Mahbaz, Esha Momeni, Fatemeh Farhangkhah, Farida Farhi, Freshteh Farahani, Maryam Beheshti, Maryam Ahari, Mahboubeh Abasgholizadeh, Mehrangiz
Kar, Mahasti Afshar, Massi Alinejad, Maryam Molavi, Massumeh Zia, Mansoureh
Shojaie, Mitra Shojaie, Mina Zand Sygle, Mahdeih Salehpour, Mahshid Rasti, Mina
Ansari, Basiri, Nayere Tohidi, Vahideh Mahmoodi, Leila Moinee, Mehri Jafari.
Men:Omid Darkuhi, Amir Rashidi, Amir Salehpour, Hassan Nayeb Hashem,
Hossein Alizadeh, Sohrab Behdad, Reza Fani Yazdi, Ali Afshari, Aliakbar Mahdi, Ali
Baniazizi, Kazem Alamdari, Mansour Farhang, Javad Djavaheri, Majid Mohammadi, Mohammed Shirzad, Mehdi Mahdavi Azad, Mehrdad Darvishpour, Nader Hashemi, Hasan Yusofi Eshkevari, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Reza Goharzad, Said Paivandi, Goudarz Eghtedari, Mansour Moaddel
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