Monthly Archives: October 2014

Mahdieh Golru, women’s rights activist arrested in wake of acid attacks

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Mahdieh Golru, student’s rights, human rights and woman’s rights activist has been arrested.

On the morning of October 26th, Intelligence agents raided the home of Mahdieh Golru and arrested her. During the raid, her personal items such as her computer were confiscated. At the same time her place of work was raided and items were also confiscated at that location.

In all likelihood Mahdieh Golru’s arrest is related to her protest of the recent acid attacks against women in the city of Isfahan. In the past weeks, a number of women in Isfahan were targeted by assailants on motorcycles and doused on the face and body with acid. The attacks had a similar pattern with two men on a motorcycle; one threw acid as the other was driving. Per various reports the attacks caused severe injuries and some of the victims were disfigured or blinded. Witnesses indicated that the women seemed to be targeted because they were deemed as not conforming to the Islamic dress code.

The acid attacks coincided with the recent proposal of a new law protecting agents who were assigned to ensure the public upheld the Islamic dress code. This along with the initial refusal of the authorities to acknowledge the attacks or make efforts to find the assailants has enraged the public and sparked a new wave of protests in various cities in Iran. In the past days Golru was among thousands in the city of Tehran who gathered across the parliament building and shouted slogans demanding that the government protect the safety of women in public.

Government officials have warned the public and news agencies to not associate the attacks with “bad hijab.” The hardline cleric Ahmad Khatami said, “sites and newspapers who have accused the Islamic regime and the faithful must be prosecuted.” A few days ago, ISNA photojournalist Arya Jafari who had taken pictures of the protests that were published on Iranian news sites along with AFP, was arrested.

Yesterday following the past few days of protests, hundreds of security forces thwarted a gathering planned to demand government protection for women. Riot police and security forces carrying batons and shields told the protestors they had to disperse because they didn’t have a permit to hold a rally. A group of the protesters later came back with their faces covered but were chased away by baton wielding security forces. Government officials have dismissed the acid attacks as a random act perpetuated by sick individuals.

Mahdieh Golru is among a group of women’s rights activists who have been vocal about the atrocities of the acid attacks. She along with other women’s rights advocates had received suspicious and threatening phone calls in the past days.

Mahdieh Golru, women’s rights activist and member of the Right to Education Council, was first arrested in December 2009 during the time of mass unrest following the disputed presidential elections. In August 2010 Branch 54 of the Tehran Court of Appeals upheld her sentence of 2 years in prison on the charges of “propaganda against the regime,” and “gathering and collusion with intent to harm national security.” On May 19, 2012, after spending 30 months behind bars, she was released. Student’s rights activist Mahdieh Golru is a “starred” student who despite her efforts has been banned from continuing her education.

On October 22, Mahdieh Golru in her last Facebook post before her arrest today, wrote of her experience before her 2009 arrest, during an altercation with security forces at her university; she was taunted and told she deserved to have acid thrown on her face.

In her post she wrote, “I am a woman. I am an Iranian woman who is afraid and is always worried.” She ended, “I am a woman, and these days, my womanhood scares me.”

Mahdieh Golru

Arrest of several activists at a gathering in support of Kobane

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Per reports security forces detained a number of activists who had gathered to advocate their support of Kobane.

According to CHRR on October 12 the group that had gathered in Tehran’s Enghelab Square to protest the grim situation happening in Kobane were immediately arrested.

The group had intended to protest against the atrocities by Islamic State in the Kobane region and express their support for the people. However before the gathering could take shape, most of the participants lost their phone connections and could not be reached.

One of the participants at the gathering was able to make contact and said that most of the people who were at the gathering were arrested.

So far it is not known exactly how many people were arrested and there is no news about their situation or whereabouts. Five of the obtained names are Amin Khosravi, Hossein Azargashb, Sahand Saadati, Hossein Jandaghian and Kamal Mahmoodi.

Before this gathering, a “Kurd, Turk and Fars” leftist group had issued an announcement asking for people to join in a gathering on Sunday at 4pm at Enghelab Square in Tehran, in support of the suppressed people of Kobani. The encounters with security forces took place before the protest could take full shape.

Korea Hidden History

Maryam Shafipour, student activist behind bars in Evin prison returned to the facility after a 6-day release on furlough

According to Sahamnews, 15 months after being held in prison without release, last week this political prisoner was finally allowed leave on furlough with a bail of 500 million tomans. Maryam Shafipour was detained without explanation on July 27, 2013 and was held under “temporary detention” for seven months under harsh interrogations before charges were filed.

Maryam Shafipour is a former agricultural engineering student from Qazvin International University who was suspended after 2 semesters and was expelled from university on her eighth semester due to her student activities, work on behalf of women and contents on her weblog. She was also a staff member of the women’s committee of Mehdi Karroubi’s presidential campaign.

Judge Salavati presiding over Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court handed Shafipour a 7-year prison sentence, which was appealed. Branch 54 of Tehran’s Court of Appeals later reduced the prison sentence to 4 years behind bars on the charges of “conspiring against national security” and “propaganda against the regime.”

Maryam Shafipour

Masoumeh Gholizadeh transferred to Tabriz prison to serve 10-month term

Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Masoumeh Gholizadeh, a PhD student in philosophy at Ankara University presented herself per court orders and was subsequently transferred to Tabriz prison to serve a ten-month sentence.

According to CHRR, Masoumeh Gholizadeh, a former student activist at Allameh Tabataba’i University in Tehran was arrested without explanation by security agents on her return to the country from Turkey on May 21, 2014. She was held behind bars without formal charges until June 19th when she was released on bail. Branch 2 of the Tabriz Revolutionary Court later sentenced the PhD student who intended to be in the country for a visit – to ten months in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the regime.”

When she was detained in May 2014 Masoumeh Gholizadeh spent 18 days under harsh interrogations in solitary confinement before being transferred to the women’s ward of Tabriz prison. In a letter 381 activists voiced their concern for her well being due to her severe health issues. Gholizadeh finally made her first brief contact by phone with her family after nine days of being held incommunicado. It was reported that she was deprived of her needed medication despite suffering from asthma, thyroid complications, along with heart and liver problems. The PhD student was not allowed to leave the country after her release on bail and is now behind bars in Tabriz prison serving her sentence.

Masoumeh Gholizadeh