Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Iranian human rights activist accused of spreading propaganda

Human rights activist Parvan Ardalan, who won Sweden’s Olof Palme Prize in February, has been summoned to court at least three times on a variety of charges in the last two months, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Wednesday. During the latest interrogation, on April 5, she was charged with spreading propaganda against the government.

She was awarded the Olof Palme Prize for her contributions to numerous women’s publications – most of which have been closed down – and for her part in founding the Change For Equality campaign, a movement aiming to collect one million signatures in support of greater women’s right in Iran. Iranian authorities prevented her from traveling to Sweden to collect the award, confiscating her passport a few minutes before the plane was due to depart.

At least forty activists associated with the campaign have been arrested since it began in August 2006. Most have been charged with acting against the state.

“I was asked about my activities on the ‘Change for Equality’ and ‘Zanestan’ websites,” Ardalan said after her visit to the security branch of a Tehran court. “They asked about the content of some of my articles and, as a member of the editorial teams of both websites, I defended that content. I was charged with propaganda against the state, but I reject the charge.”

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