Femena: Right, Peace, Inclusion

Femena: Right, Peace, Inclusion
Supporting WHRDs & progressive feminist movements in MENA & Asia.

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Appeals Court Upholds Harsh Prison Sentences of Over 60-Years Collectively for 11 Iranian Feminist Activists

On Tuesday, May 28, 2024, the feminist platform, Bidarzani, announced that the sentences of eleven women human rights defenders who collectively received over 60 years in prison have been approved on appeal. This ruling gave Zohreh Dadras the most severe sentence of nine years, six months, and two days. She was charged with “forming a group to act against national security.” Ten other feminist activists, including Forough Saminia, Sara Jahani, Yasamin Hashdari, Shiva ShahSia, Negin Rezaie, Azadeh Chavoshian, and Matin Yazdani, were each sentenced to six years and 47 days in prison for “joining a group to act against national security.” Hooman Taheri and Jelveh Javaheri each received one year for “spreading of propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” The original verdict was issued in March 2024.

Some of these activists have written on their social media accounts that the appeal court approved their sentences without their presence. They also said that the initial court proceedings for each of them took about 15 minutes, and the judge didn’t give them and their lawyers enough time to present an appropriate defense.

These WHRDs have provided testimony on their social media accounts claiming that they were beaten, psychologically tortured, and sexually harassed during their detention and interrogation and some were even subjected to mock execution.

Background: On August 16, 2023, Iranian security forces arrested 12 women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, raiding their homes, conducting searches, and seizing property such as computers and mobile phones. They were released on bail after two months of detention. Their arrests occurred in the lead up to the one year anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini’s death. Mahsa Jina Amini, was arrested for “violating” mandatory hijab laws while in the custody of the morality police in September 2022. News outlets associated with the security forces accused the Gilan activists of “inciting disruption and receiving funds from abroad” following their arrests.

Femena strongly condemns the harsh sentences against feminist activists in Iran and the lack of fair judicial processes that regularly target and punish those who work peacefully in support of human rights. We call on Iranian authorities to unconditionally drop all charges against these eleven WHRDs as well all the WHRDs detained and sentenced in the aftermath of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” Protests which were sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Jina Amini.

We at Femena express our solidarity and stand with all Iranian WHRDs and feminist activists who regularly risk their safety and lives in their fight for equality and freedom.