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PROTEST THE JAILING OF IRANIAN WOMEN ACTIVISTS

The Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace (WLP) is asking you to join its letter writing campaign in support of women activists who were sentenced to prison in April - for organising a women's protest in Tehran.

The women activists had organised a peaceful protest in Tehran in June 2006 to demand equal rights for women. Under the guise of "endangering national security", Fariba Davoudi Mohajer was sentenced on 18 April to four years in prison, three of which are suspended. Parvin Ardalan and Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani were sentenced to three years (two and a half years suspended). Sussan Tahmasebi received two years (one and a half years suspended). The women will be required to serve the suspended sentences if "found guilty of another crime" during the next five years.

Human Rights Watch reports that an additional woman was sentenced on 24 April - Shahla Entesari was given three years in prison. Earlier in the month, Azadeh Forghani, also a women's rights activist, received a suspended sentence of two years for "acting against national security by participating in an illegal gathering."

All of the women supported the recently launched "Change for Equality" campaign, an effort to collect one million signatures to protest Iran's discriminatory laws against women. The campaign seeks specific reforms, such as making women's testimony in court carry the same weight as men's, equality of inheritance rights between men and women and the elimination of polygamy.

To sign the "Change for Equality" petition and help reach the goal of one million signatures, see:
- English petition: http://tinyurl.com/3bcyxy
- Persian petition: http://tinyurl.com/39yeej
To protest the sentencing of the activists, write to the following people:
- Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader: [email protected]
- Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Head of the Judiciary: [email protected]
- M. Javad Zarif, Ambassador to the United Nations: [email protected]
Visit these links:
- WLP: http://tinyurl.com/2fkx7g
- Human Rights Watch, "National security laws used to jail women's rights activists": http://tinyurl.com/ytyegv
- Human Rights Watch photo essay featuring bios of detained women's rights activists: http://www.hrw.org/photos/2007/iran03/index.html
- Human Rights News from Iran: http://www.hriran.org
(8 May 2007)

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