Not a Happy Day for Iranian Women Activists

Is it just me or does it make you sad that only hundreds of people have shown up in the streets today in Tehran and other cities, to protest the Islamic regime and support equality for women? The crowd is small compared to the other protests we have seen – only the very brave have come out. I hardly hear Iranian women in Iran or in the U.S. even talk about this day. I don’t get it. Are we too busy with our lives to care about one of the most important things in the world: women’s rights?

I think what also saddened me was the honest remark by an anonymous commentator on Tehran Bureau who said about Iran and the Iran protests that “Generally, everyone is mad but we don’t have the courage to do anything, and on some level I believe people know that to get rid of the Islamic Republic they must stop pinning their hopes on Mousavi and Karroubi who are former members of IRI. Unless they are willing to do that, no form of change will ever come this way.”

Yes, courage. So many of us Iranians seem to lack it and yet we speak so big. We have so much air. Sometimes it seems that we have a small group of extremely brave Iranians who are willing to do anything to fight repression and find freedom and a large group of silent observers who hope that others will fight their battles for them. And for those who say that us bloggers and activists in the U.S. and abroad aren’t doing anything and it’s easy for us to talk, well let me say, that many bloggers have friends and family back in Iran and many travel back and forth, and that if you are sitting on your couch in Tehran, you’re no better, and it doesn’t give you the right to criticize those who at least try to do something.

Okay, I’ll stop. I guess I’m just in a bad mood today. :)

Today a special post on Arshama3’s Blog provides a list of all Iranian women activists who have been imprisoned with charges ranging from gender-related and ethnic issues to the defense of their own rights within the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Journalists and Bloggers:
1. Jamileh Darolshafaie, journalist to Etemad daily, arrested February 5, 2010

2. Hengameh Shahidi, journalist and women’s rights activist, second arrest February 25, 2010, sentenced to 6.25 years in prison

3. Maryam Zolfeghar, IRNA reporter, arrested June 22, 2009, current status unknown

4. Zeynab Kazemkhah, ISNA, arrested February 7, 2010, released on bail March 7, 2010, sentenced to 5 years in prison November 22, 2010

5. Sousan Mohammadkhani Ghiasvand, Kurd blogger, human rights activist, arrested March 11, 2010, released three weeks later, rearrested in Karaj on February 14, 2011

6. Nazanin Khosravani, journalist, Nowrooz, Shargh, arrested November 3, 2010


7. Mahsa Amrabadi, journalist, Tehran, released on bail, sentenced to 1 year in prison, arrested for participating in protest rally March 1, 2011

8. Haniyeh Farshi-Shotorban, not politically active, apparently arrested for Facebook membership and activities in July 2010 in Tabriz, transferred to Evin prison, Ward 209, in Tehran, transferred to Methadone ward of Evin prison on 1 March 2011

9. Parvin Javadzadeh, blogger, citizen journalist, arrested on December 27, 2009 (Ashura), sentenced to 8 years in prison for „moharebeh“, sentence reduced to 26 months on appeal in August 2010, critical health condition, leave on furlough on October 9, 2010, transferred to Methadone ward of Evin prison

Lawyers, Women Rights, Students’ Rights and Human Rights Activists

1. Nasrin Sotoudeh, children and human rights lawyer, arrested 2 September 2010, starts dry hunger strike on 5 December 2010, sentenced to 11 years prison and a 20 year ban on practising law and 20 year ban on leaving the country on 9 January 2011, trial for absence of hijab postponed, refused to attend in protest 2 February 2011, denied visits and phone calls since 20 February 2011

2. Alieh Eghdam Doost, over 60 years old, women’s rights activist, first arrest in 2005, rearrested 29 January 2009, transferred to Evin prison to serve her 3 year sentence, furlough denied, solitary confinement for one week, starting on 10 November 2010

3. Bahareh Hedayat, students rights activist, arrested 31 December 2009, sentenced to 9.5 years in prison, on hunger strike from 19 to 28 December 2010, moved to general ward 19 January 2011

4. Ronak Safarzadeh, Kurdish women’s rights activist, member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, arrested October 2007, sentenced to 5 years in prison for membership of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) in April 2009, charges denied

5. Mahdieh Golroo, students rights activist, arrested 2 December 2010, sentenced to 3 years in prison, on hunger strike in December 2010, moved to Evin general ward on 19 January 2011

6. Hakimeh Shokri, human rights activist, arrested at Beheshte Zahra at Tajmir memorial on 7 December 2010, visitors report on clear marks of physical abuse on her face

7. Neda Mostaghimi, Mourning Mother, human rights activist, arrested at Beheshte Zahra at Tajmir memorial on 7 December 2010

8. Fatemeh Masjedi, women’s rights activist, transferred to Qom Prison 6 February 2011

9. Zeynab Bayazidi, Kurdish activist and member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, arrested on July 9, 2008, sentenced to 4 years in prison and exile to Central Prison in the city of Zanjan on bogus charges, appeal court upheld sentence, transferred to Zanjan prison on November 15, 2008, went on hunger strike for a few days in July 2010

And the terrifying list goes on and on.

What a sad day indeed.


WajidMarch 13th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Thanks for sharing this article, smostofi!

smostofiMarch 13th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for visiting Wajid.

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