Monday, March 12, 2007

Iranian Feminists Need Your Help

If you were a feminist activist in Iran today, you would be under the constant threat of arrest for a simple action: asking for equal rights. On Sunday, March 4, 34 women's rights activists were arrested for silently gathering outside Tehran's Revolutionary Court to protest the prosecution of four women on trial that morning. The four women's rights leaders are facing multiple charges including "acting against national security" for organizing a protest for women's equality in Tehran on June 12, 2006. At the 2006 protest, peaceful demonstrators were beaten by Iranian Security Forces and over 70 were arrested.

The brave women who were arrested last Sunday, who represented many, if not most, of Iran's women's rights leaders, were held in Iran's notorious Evin prison. Although all but two of these women have now been released, they were barred from participating in a rally outside the Iranian parliament on International Women's Day, March 8.

The Iranian authorities must see people everywhere joining together in this virtual march to protest the detainment of these leaders and to call for equal rights for women in Iran. With the eyes of the world upon this injustice, we can help ensure the safe release of these courageous women and prevent future arrests of feminists for peacefully protesting for equal rights.

In our work over the past year with Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate and Iranian human rights attorney, Feminist Majority Foundation activists have had the privilege of meeting two of the Iranian women's rights leaders who were arrested. Their courage and determination is an inspiration.

Eleanor Smeal


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