URGENT NOTICE: Women's Human Rights Activists in Iran
The Women's Learning Partnership has learned that two leading women's
activists may be in danger in Iran. Please help by forwarding this notice
to your friends and associates, and by writing to the officials below to
express your concern for the welfare, safety, and lawful treatment of Mehrangiz
Kar and Shahla Lahiji, and others who have been arrested.
On Sunday April 30, 2000, the Islamic Republic of Iran formally indicted
and imprisoned Mehrangiz Kar, a lawyer, writer, and human rights advocate,
and Shahla Lahiji, director of Roshangaran, a prominent publishing house
of women's books, as well as four other activists and intellectuals, because
they had participated in a conference on the future of Iran held in Germany
a week before. They have been denied access to their lawyers and have not
been allowed to receive medicine.
Ms. Kar and Ms. Lahiji are charged with "acting against the internal
security of the state and disparaging the sacred order of the Islamic Republic."
The charges are severe and the range of possible punishments is broad.
This action follows the closing during the past week of all newspapers
and magazines associated with a popular movement that seeks pluralism and
reforms within the framework of the constitution of the Islamic Republic.
In recent years, there have been reports of numerous cases of assassination,
assassination attempts, and threats against proponents of democracy, as
well as suspicious deaths within Iran's prisons. During the past weeks,
there have been several inflammatory statements by the leaders of the Islamic
Republic condemning supporters of reform generally and the participants
in the Berlin conference specifically.
We are therefore gravely concerned about the safety of the imprisoned
activists, particularly Ms. Kar and Ms. Lahiji, who have often been singled
out by the regime as foremost proponents of women's human rights in Iran.
Please send your letters of concern to the following officials:
1. Your Country's Ambassador to Iran
2. Your Foreign Office
3. Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami,
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Office of the President,
The Islamic Republic of Iran;
4. H.E. Ambassador Najad Hosseinian,
Iranian Mission to the United Nations,
622 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10017, USA;
It would also be helpful to forward a copy of your correspondence to:
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Office of the United Nations,
High Commissioner for Human Rights,
CH 1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland;
Tel: (41) 22-917-9000;
Women's Learning Partnership
4343 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 201 Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
Tel: (1) 301 654-2774;
Fax: (1) 301 654-2775