Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

HRW calls on Iran to ensure transparent hearings for Kurdish activists

Human Rights Watch issued a statement Monday urging the Iranian government to ensure that Kurdish women’s rights activists Hana Abdi and Ronak Safarzadeh receive fair and open trials when their cases come up for a hearing.

Abdi, a member of the Change for Equality campaign, is waiting to appeal her June 19 conviction. Safarzadeh volunteered with the same campaign. Abdi faces a five-year sentence, while Safarzadeh, if convicted, faces a possible death sentence.

Human Rights Watch maintains that the government’s treatment of these two activists is in line with its well-documented pattern of using broadly defined “security laws” to justify large-scale repression. In the last two years, authorities have arrested over 35 activists involved in women’s rights campaigns.

“It’s become routine for the Iranian government to use vague security charges to detain and intimidate peaceful activists,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Now, they’re going further by handing down outrageous sentences.”

According to the article, Abdi’s official offence is “gathering and colluding to commit a crime against national security,” while Safarzadeh may be convicted of the more serious charge of “enmity with God.”

For the full article, click here.


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