Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the sentencing of Ms. Rezvan Moghadam and Ms. Parvin Ardalan, members of the One Million Signatures Petition Campaign, which seeks to put pressure on the Iranian legislators in order to withdraw provisions that have adverse effects on women’s human rights.
According to the information received, on April 28, 2008, Ms. Rezvan Moghadam and Ms. Parvin Ardalan were notified that, subsequent to a hearing that took place on February 4, 2008, the 13th Chamber of the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Ms. Moghadam to six months’ suspended imprisonment and ten lashes and Ms. Ardalan to two years’ imprisonment, for having participated, on March 4, 2007, in a peaceful gathering in front of the Tehran Revolutionary Court to mark International Women’s Day. On this occasion, 33 women’s rights activists were arrested. They were also protesting against the trials of six women human rights defenders who were prosecuted in connection with their participation in the peaceful assembly of June 2006, and with their involvement in the "One million signatures" campaign. Ms. Moghadam has announced that she would appeal this decision.
The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the harsh sentence against Ms. Moghadam and Ms. Ardalan as well about the ongoing harsh repression of the Iranian authorities against human rights defenders, in particular women’s rights activists involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign. To that extent, the Observatory recalls that more than a hundred of women’s rights activists have been arrested, interrogated, or sentenced in the past two years and that the Government has raised over one million Euros by imprisoning the activists and releasing them on high bail.
The Observatory further wishes to insist on the fact that Iran had committed to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights" by presenting its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006 election and had insisted in this regard on the fact that the country had "continuously put great efforts into safeguarding the status and inherent dignity of the human person as well as the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms". In order to ensure the continuation of these efforts, the Observatory urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to conform with international human rights standards.
On April 24, 2007, Ms. Ardalan was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, of which two and a half were suspended, and had immediately appealed the sentencing.
Furthermore, on February 25, 2008, Ms. Parvin Ardalan was summoned to Tehran Revolutionary Courts and she was forced, on March 3, 2008, to get out of a plane to Stockholm (Sweden), where she had been invited to receive the Olaf Palme, in honour of her achievements and activism designed to achieve equal rights for women. Her passport was retained on that occasion, and Ms. Ardalan was given a court order that required her to show up at the security branch of the passport office within 72 hours.
Please write to the authorities in Iran urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Moghadam and Ms. Ardalan, as well as all activists engaged in the "One Million Signatures" campaign;
ii. Ensure that Ms. Moghadam and Ms. Ardalan, should she appeal the decision, be granted a fair and impartial trial, so that the charges against them be dropped as they seem to merely sanction their human rights activities and as such are arbitrary;
iii. Drop all arbitrary charges against all women’s rights defenders involved in the "One million signatures" campaign;
iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Iranian human rights defenders;
v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", Article 6.b, which provides that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others [...] freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms", and Article 12.2, which provides that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration";
vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Iran.
· Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org;
· President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail: email@example.com;
· Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567 / +98 21 3 390 4986, Email: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com / firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email: email@example.com;
· Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran, His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani, C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827
· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
· Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: email@example.com.