Iran: Authorities urged to release immediately female prisoners of conscience

International activists and women’s organizations have issued a statement expressing grave concern over the health and wellbeing of ten female prisoners of conscience who started hunger strikes to protest illegal and inappropriate treatment in prison. Hanaa Edwar and several other collaborators of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, member organization of Social Watch, appear among the 275 activists from 35 countries who signed the call so far.

Twenty-two organizations from all over the world have called for the immediate release of these prisoners of conscience. They have also urged the Iranian authorities to ensure the rights of the women while in prison and have called upon the judiciary, security and prison officials to end their harassment of female prisoners of conscience.

On October 30th nine women prisoners of conscience, including journalists, human rights defenders, women’s rights and student activists, went on hunger strike after the prison was violently stormed by guards and the women were subjected to an invasive, unnecessary and illegal body search, that some have likened to an assault.

The tenth woman, Nasrin Sotoudeh, human rights lawyer, had been on hunger strike since October 17, to protest lack of in-person visitation with her family and a travel ban placed on her 12 year old daughter. She was moved to solitary confinement against her will on November 4th and as of Sunday November 5th, when her husband visited with her, she had not ended her hunger strike. There is no news on her current condition, which has added to worries about her health.

On November 6th Bahareh Hedayat, Nazanin Dihimi, Jila Baniyaghoub, Shiva Nazarahari, Mahsa Amrabadi, Hakimeh Shokri, Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi and Nasim Soltan Beygi ended their hunger strike. Rahele Zakaii had ended her strike earlier in the week. The 8 women in Evin prison’s general ward ended their hunger strike, after receiving assurances from prison authorities that the abusive behavior of guards would be investigated. The women also filed a complaint against the guards and have received assurances that authorities will pursue the complaint.

The statement, signed by 275 women’s rights defenders and 22 organizations, form almost 35 different countries, reads as follows:


Call on Iranian Authorities to Ensure Health and Rights of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Nine Female Prisoners of Conscience on Hunger Strike

Ten female prisoners of conscience in Tehran’s Evin prison have embarked on a hunger strike to protest the illegal treatment by Iran’s security, prison and judiciary officials. Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian human rights lawyer who is serving a six year prison sentence in relation to her human rights activities began her hunger strike on October 21. She is protesting the state’s harassment of her family including limitations placed on in-person visitation with her family and a travel ban by the Judiciary issued against her 12 year old daughter, Mehraveh Khandan.

Despite pleas to Iranian officials to end their illegal treatment and harassment of Sotoudeh and her family, no steps have been taken to remedy the problem. Instead some hardliners have threatened and defamed her further in the state controlled media. Meanwhile over two weeks into her hunger strike, Nasrin’s health has drastically deteriorated her wellbeing is at great risk.

At the same time, officials stepped up their harassment of other female prisoners in Evin. On October 30 2012, the Women’s Ward at Evin, which is home to human and women’s rights activists, journalists, political prisoners and religious minorities, was violently and illegally raided by 20 special guard forces, who proceeded to insult and humiliate the female prisoners. In response nine of these women have begun a hunger strike to protest the violent and illegal treatment they have received, including Bahareh Hedayat, Jila Baniyagoub, Shiva Nazarahari, Nasim SoltanBeigi, Mahsa Amrabadi, Nazanin Deyhami, Hakimeh Shokri, Jila Karamzadeh Makvandi, and Raheleh Zakaee.

We as defenders of women’s rights internationally and in our own countries recognize that most of the female prisoners in Evin have been sentenced to serve long prison terms as a result of activities in defense of justice, freedom and rights. We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation of human rights in Iran and the illegal treatment of political prisoners, including the women at Evin prison. We the undersigned, express our grave concern over the health of Nasrin Sotoudeh and the other female prisoners on hunger strike.

We urge the Iranian authorities to take immediate steps to release these prisoners of conscience and to take all steps necessary to ensure that their rights are fully adhered to while in prison. We call upon the Iranian Judiciary, security and prison officials to end harassment of female prisoners of conscience and their families, including the lifting of the travel ban imposed on Nasrin Sotoudeh’s daughter. We further call on authorities to adhere to national and international laws and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all prisoners, allow them regular in-person visits with their family members, regular furloughs, access to health care, access to legal aid, and regular phone calls.


Afghanistan: Hassina, Afghan Women’s Network – Tariq Sapi, ABC – Wazhma Frogh, RIWPS – Zainab ,SW

Australia: R E Russell, Ruth Elizabeth Russell, Anne S Walker, Beth McMon, Karen Nobes

Bangladesh: Kazi Rabeya Ame, The Hunger Project Bangladesh

Bahrain: Mariam Alkhawaja

Belgium: Nuozzi Cynthia

Canada: Diana Sarosi, Narges Kermanshahi, Rachael Dempsey, Saira Zuberi

Costa Rica: Laurencia Saenz

Colombia: Patricia Guerrero, Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas

Dominican Republic: María Cuervo

England: Kamran Hashemi, Soudeh RAD, Helen Gambold, Syma Sayyah-Afshar, Theresa Evans

Egypt: Claudia ruta, UN WOMEN - Rana Korayem, Rana Korayem, Dina Wahba, Noha Roushdy, Sally Zohney, Yara Sallam

Fiji: Merewairita Naisua-Moci, Fijian Teachers Association - Paulini Turagabeci, YWCA Fiji - Vanessa Griffen, Individual, Matelita Ana Rakacikaci, Noelene Nabulivou, Sian Rolls, Sima Chand

France: Ilène , Ilène Grange - Mathilde Roué, OLF, Amélie SAINTEMARIE, Aurore Valverde, Boillet, Camo, Catherine Charrier, Cathy Lavigne, Cathy Lavigne, Chahla Chafiq, Christele Rebillon, Darmon Léa, Eleonore Hasle, Florianne Garonne, François Léonard, Jean-François DEVANNEAUX, Jean-michel Selle, Justine BOUHEY BERNARD, Laurine Bricard, Léna Olivier, Lydia Narciso, Marie Estrade, Marie-laure Plantadit, Marion Castellanos, Mathilde Bertrand, Quesne Greg, Sarah Werner, Stéphane Thuault, Moussier Marion

Germany: Kadriye Baksi, sehrazat, Anna Dremel, Christiane Alisch, Ismail H. Polat, Rezvan Moghaddam, Rupert Rosenberger, Shokoofeh Montazeri, Stephanie Zorn, Stephanie Zorn

Ghana: Euphemia Akos Dzathor, African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change (AWANICh)

Iraq: Batool Al- Daghir, Woman Rights Center in Samawa - Ilham Makki, Al-Amal association - Janet Salim Benjamin, Etana Women Organization - Lamia Talebani, Voice Of Independent Women Organization – mjareh , muafaq hassan jareh - Noaman Muna, Iraqi Al-Amal Association - Peshawa Lateef, Private - Saadia F.Hassoon , Together to protect Human & the environment Association - Souad Aljazairy, IWMC – SALAR, Al Amal Association - Ala Ali, Iraqi Al-Amal Association - حقي كريم هادي, جمية حماية وتطوير الاسرة العراقية - Hanaa Edwar, Hikmat Hussein, Ta’meem Al-Azawi (Organizations: Al-Mahaba we Al-Salam (Fourm for Students and Youth), Iraqi Women Networ)k, Salam, Women Empowerment

Ireland: Michelle Foley, Front Line Defenders, Conor Scott, Grainne Kilcullen, John Rogers, John Rogers, N. Nakhshab

Italy : Sabri Njafi, Assoiazione Studi e Riceche sulle Donne iraniane, Eleonora Cordovani, Amir Rashidi

India: Aniket Alam, Sonali Roy

Indonesia: Hayu Dyah

Iran: Dorsa Sobhani, Maryam Hosseinkhah, Marziyeh Bakhshizadeh, Naghmeh Gh., Nahid Mirhaj, Saghar Qyasi, Somaye Rashidi, Maryam Ahari, Navid Mohebbi, Parisa Kakaee, Roja Bandari, Sepideh Yousefzadeh, Shadi Sadr, Shahnaz Irani, Sima Hosseinzadeh

Japan: Kaoru Ueda

Netherlands: Krisztina Kovacs, mahshad, Rahman Javanmardi, Cheng Ong

Norway: Asieh Amini

Lebanon: Faysal El Kak, Lebanese Society of ObGyn - Toufic Sarieddine, Toufic Sarieddine, Bassem Chit, Bernadette Daou, Cynthia Aoun, Farah Kobaissy, Hiba Abbani, Lynn Darwich, Sarah Chreif. (Organization: Nasawiya)

Libya: Razan Naeem ALmoghrabi

Oman: Usama, Usama Mohamed

Papua New Guinea: Rachael Tommbe

Philippines: Mary Jane Real

Portugal: Almerinda Bento

Papua New Guinea: Rachael Tommbe

Portugal: Almerinda Bento

Pakistan: Y. Zaidi

Serbia: Gordana Subotic, Women in black


Sweden: Sara Mohammad, Never Forget Pela and Fadime Organisation- Sweden- – acb, ann-charlotte bjorklund - Anna-Klara Bratt, FEMINISTISKT PERSPEKTIV - Hilde Selander, International Female Film Festival Malmö - Jenny Rönngren, Feministiskt Perspektiv - Nima Korhasani, SKF - Nina Karlsson, HOMA Kommitén - Sabbir Khan, International Forum for Secular Bangladesh - Samuel E Rajeus, Samuel Rajeus - Tahmoures Yassami, Iranian and Swedish Association – Malmö - Tom Toiviainen, from a democracy - Nina Nazanin Karlsson, Iransk-svenska förening; A. Noroozi, Azar Mahloujian, Bengt Backlund, Birgitta Englin, Elisabeth Hellman, Emilie Mikkelson, Eva Nyblom, Eva Svegborn, farahroz Rangbar, Fredrik Elg, Gertrud Wincrantz-Wernstedt, Gursimer Singh, Hanna Jörgensen, Hans Ollaiver, Jamshid Moshkani, Jila Mossaed, Jonas Alwall, Kristina Hultman, KvR, Lady Michelle Einarsson, Layla Khairallah, Lena Olsson , Maj-Britt Pamp, Margareta Johansson, Martin Ullander, Nazi Raha, Peter Nordevang, Ragnhild Blomdahl, Richard Rosengren, sholeh irani, Ulrika Winbäck, Viola Ollaiver, Ylva Rehnberg, Zayera Khan. (Organizations: Feminist Dialog)

Saudi Arabia: Wajeha Al-Huwaider

Sri Lanka: Kumudini Samuel

Syria: Fadi Saleh

Tunisia: Ahlem Belhadj, Association tunisienne des femmes _emocrats – Arabya KOUSRI, Chehida Rakia, khadija Arfaoui, khadija Arfaoui

Turkey: Pinar Ilkkaracan, Çiğdem Şahin, Emre Daşar, WOMEN FOR WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS, Arzu Küçük, Derya çiçek, Free İranian, Hulya, Hak Savunucuları, Nihal Boztekin, Asuman, Ayse Coskun, Ayse Ulku Ozakin, Burcu Arıkan, C. Oral Ozdemir, Efsa Kuraner, Enta, Eylül Dizdaroğlu, Ezgitatlıoğlu, Gizem Haspolat, Gökçen Durutaş, Gülüm Albut, Hülya Türker, Işık Ergüden, Mine Sak, Namık Tolunay, Oktay Cicek, Pınar Yıldız, Ronida Heval, Şehlem Sebik, Serap Kalkan, Suzan Bayhan, Elif Can, Raduza, Öğretmen, ayşe uysal,Dilsah Saylan, Amargi - Elif Berk, Rainbow Women Association/Gökkuşağı Kadın Derneği – Yasemin Öz, Kaos GL – ağbulak, hayal – kaan, burak - Seyit Bilgin, Seyit Bilgin - iranda kadın hak. ihl., hak savunucuları,

United States: Samuel Reshi , Haku Social Organization - Nancy K, CODEPINK Women for Peace - Negar Chevre , Negar Chevre - Elahé Hicks , Partners for Rights – L.A. Hyder, Niki Akhavan, Ahmad Arbaboun, Nayereh Tohidi, Arman Rezakhani, Evelyne Accad, Holakou Rahmanian, James Fine, Jennifer Wiens, Negar Sammaknejad, NuNu Win, Soheil Parhizi, Soraya Fallah, Aida Saadat, Esha Momeni. (Organizations: WNN - Women News Network, International Campaign In support of Nasrin Sotoudeh, Neda For Free Iran,

Others: Rolf Vaardal


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