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Update: Iran: Release of Shiva Nazar Ahari

September 17, 2010

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women (SKSW campaign) welcome the news that Shiva Nazar Ahari was released from prison on Sunday 12 September 2010. 

 

However, though she is free now, her sentence will be given in approximately two weeks’ time.  One of the charges against Ms. Nazar Ahari is moharebeh (enmity with God), which can be punishable by death in Iran. We therefore urge you to write to the Iranian officials and the embassy of Iran in your country to welcome the release of Ms. Nazar Ahari and to urge all charges against her in connection with her peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association to be dropped.

 

A sample letter is attached.

 

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women (SKSW campaign) welcome the news that Shiva Nazar Ahari was released from prison on Sunday 12 September 2010. 

Shiva Nazar Ahari is a 26-year-old human rights activist specializing in women’s rights, children’s rights, and the defense of political prisoners. She is a journalist and blogger, as well as actively involved with the Committee of Human Rights Reporters and the One Million Signatures Campaign. Formerly a civil engineering graduate student, Ahari was expelled from university as a result of her student activism. She had endured 266 consecutive days in Evin Prison, 100 of which were spent in solitary confinement, for participating in non-violent actions.

In July 2004, Nazar Ahari was arrested in front of the United Nations building in Tehran during a protest by families of political prisoners; she was arrested again during the wave of protests that followed Iran’s disputed tenth presidential elections in 2009. Iranian intelligence agents arrested Nazar Ahari at her workplace on 14 June 2009.  

On 17 July, Shiva’s defense attorney, Shadi Sadr, was arrested while on her way to Tehran University to attend the demonstration during Friday Prayers. When Sadr received the International Women of Courage Award in March 2010, she dedicated her award to Nazar Ahari.       

After spending 33 days in solitary confinement at Evin’s Ward 209, she was transferred to a general ward on 17 August 2009. She was not granted visitation rights and had very limited contact with her family. In September, her family posted the exorbitant amount of USD$200,000 for her bail. She had been charged with moharebeh (enmity with God), which under the current regime in Iran, is punishable by death.

Nazar Ahari was re-arrested on 20 December 2009 at Tehran’s Enghelab Square, along with numerous other rights activists who were en route to the city of Qom to attend the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. The last trial for Shiva Nazar Ahari took place on 4 September 2010 for charges including: “assembly and collusion to commit a crime”, “propaganda against the regime,” and “disrupting the public order”. Worldwide protests were also launched calling for the freedom of Shiva Nazar Ahari.

Nazar Ahari has now been released on USD $500,000 bail, though her official sentence has yet to be announced. Reports received indicate that she is well, but Shiva, her family, the Iranian human rights movement, and the international community remain gravely concerned for her security with the impending sentencing due on in the next 2 weeks.

We thank all those who joined their voices in condemning the repression and illegal detention of peaceful human rights defenders in Iran, including Shiva Nazar Ahari.  Mobilization efforts around the world have been crucial, as allies in, and of, Iran report that this international pressure remains an important strategy in addressing the waves of repression against the non-violent defence of human rights.  It is important to keep the pressure on, especially in the lead-up to the sentencing of Nazar Ahari.

Below, please find a sample letter to send to the Iranian authorities. 

Source: WLUML Networkers

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