Tuesday, November 16, 2004

# Posted 8:03 PM by Patrick Belton  

A PLEA FOR OUR READERS: If any of our friends happen to have a moment or two, and wouldn't mind dropping a note to the President of Iran and (for non-US residents) the Iranian embassy in your country, I think that would be a worthwhile cause. Twenty-five bloggers and civil society activists have been arbitrarily arrested in recent weeks. Here is a message from the World Movement for Democracy on that subject, which I will pass on in its entirety:
The World Movement for Democracy would like to express its concern for the safety of two Iranian women leaders, Fereshteh Ghazi, an online journalist, and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, editor of a women’s rights journal “Farzaneh.” According to the Women's Learning Partnership, Abbasgholizadeh has contributed to the strengthening of Iranian civil society by conducting capacity building programs as Director of the NGO Training Center in Tehran, and was arrested at her home on November 2, 2004. Ghazi has used her skills to create an increased awareness of the status of women in Iran using the Internet, and was arrested in her office on October 28, 2004. Both women have been denied the right to legal counsel. Over the past two months, a string of Internet writers and civil society activists have been arrested for “propaganda against the regime, endangering national security, inciting public unrest, and insulting sacred belief,” according to Jamal Karimi Rad, the judiciary’s spokesman.

Amnesty International reports that Ghazi and Abbasgholizadeh are among 25 internet journalists and civil society activists that have been arbitrarily arrested in recent weeks. The Women’s Learning Partnership, a World Movement participating organization, has been contacted by colleagues in Iran asking them to help bring attention to the plight of civil society activists in Iran.

Suggested Action: To demand the immediate release of Fereshteh Ghazi and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and express your concern for the rise in human rights violations in Iran, please write to President Hojjatoleslam Sayed Mohammad Khatemi, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the European Parliament, and the Iranian embassy in your country:

His Excellency Hojjatoleslam Sayed Mohammad Khatemi
The Presidency Office
Pasteur Avenue
Tehran 13167-43311 Islamic Republic of Iran

Her Excellency Louise Arbour
High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022

His Excellency Josep Borrell Fontelles
President of the European Parliament
Division for Correspondence with Citizens
Fax: (352) 4300 27072

Iranian Embassies

Additional Information:

“Iran: Web Writers Purge Underway”
Human Rights Watch

“Iran: Civil society activists and human rights defenders under attack”
Amnesty International

“Iran: Call for the unconditional release of Mahboobeh Abbasgholizadeh”
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)
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