Call to action: Tell Iran to end the harassment of human rights defenders

20 March 2019- Based on a joint communiqué from the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) and Justice for Iran, The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is requesting your urgent intervention in the ongoing judicial harassment against Iran’s human rights defenders, including women’s studies graduate and gender rights activist Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi..

Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi, who was arrested in September 2018, has been charged and tried for “acting against national security” through normalizing same-sex relations. This is the first time Iran’s judiciary has charged a human rights defender with “normalizing same-sex relations,” and The Observatory notes that a dangerous precedent will be set if Ms. Mohammadi is convicted.

Please read the article’s full text below:

Iran: Judicial harassment of Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi

New information

IRN 003 / 0319 / OBS 027

Judicial harassment

Iran

March 20, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) and by Justice for Iran about the ongoing judicial harassment of Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi, a graduate of women’s studies who has been promoting gender equality online and participating in gender equality workshops.

According to the information received, on February 17, 2019, Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran held the first hearing in a criminal case against Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi on charges of “acting against the national security” through normalising same-sex relations (purportedly under Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code). Ms. Mohammadi’s lawyer was not allowed to defend her and was denied access to the court file.

After her arrest on September 3, 2018 (see background information), Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated for 26 days in the notorious Ward 209 [1] of Tehran’s Evin prison, before being transferred to a women’s dormitory ward on September 29, 2018. She was released on bail on October 20, 2018, upon deposit of 1,500,000,000 Iranian Rials (approximately 11,000 Euros).

The Observatory recalls that Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi’s arrest is part of a broader crackdown against gender rights activists by Iran’s security forces. For example, Ms. Maryam Azad [2], an LGBTI rights activist from the city of Shiraz, Fars Province, was arrested on September 25, 2018, when she attempted to board a flight at Tehran airport bound for Turkey.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the continuing judicial harassment against Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi, which seems to be only aimed at sanctioning her for her legitimate human rights activities, and notes that it is the first time a human rights defender has been charged and tried for “normalising same-sex relations” in the country. If convicted, Ms. Mohammadi’s case would constitute a dangerous precedent for gender equality defenders.

The Observatory urges the Iranian authorities to end any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi and all Iranian human rights defenders.

Background information:

Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi was arrested on September 3, 2018 [3], at her home in Tehran, and taken to the Intelligence Ministry-run Ward 209 within Evin prison. Her phone and other electronic devices were confiscated and she was held incommunicado for two days. At that time, the authorities did not provide any reason for her arrest and she was denied family visits for the whole duration of her detention.

This was not the first time she had suffered from judicial harassment. In March 2018, Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi was also arrested by the morality police in Gorgan, Golestan Province, for not wearing “Islamic clothing”. She was held for one night in a police detention centre and released on bail. She was then acquitted by the Gorgan city court.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Iran asking them to:

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi, as well as that of all other Iranian human rights defenders.;

iii. Drop all charges pending against Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi and meanwhile ensure that all judicial proceedings against her are carried out in full compliance with her right to a fair trial, as protected under international law;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Rezvaneh Mohammadi as well as that all other human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the country, and ensure they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance;

v. Conform to all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6, 9, 11 and 12;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.

Addresses:

• Leader of the Islamic Republic, H.E. Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, Fax: + 98 21 441 2030, Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @khamenei_ir

• President Hassan Rouhani, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 644 54811; Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and @Rouhani_ir (Persian).

• Head of the Judiciary, H.E. Hojattolislam Ebrahim Ra’eesi, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email: [email protected] / [email protected] / [email protected]

• Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98-21-66743149; [email protected]

• Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammed Javad Larijani, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email: [email protected]

• H.E. Mr. Javad Amin-Mansour, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: [email protected]

• H.E. Mr. Peiman Seadat, Ambassador, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: [email protected]

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Iran in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, March 20, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: [email protected]

Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29

[1] Ward 209 is a notorious section located within Evin prison run independently by the Ministry of Intelligence. Many human rights defenders have been interrogated, tortured, held without charges, and subjected to solitary confinement there.

[2] See Observatory Open Letter to President Hassan Rouhani, published on September 28, 2018.

[3] See Observatory Open Letter to President Hassan Rouhani, published on September 28, 2018.

 

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