AFP: Hundreds of Iranian civil rights activists have signed an open letter calling for the release of a women’s rights advocate arrested for “acting against national security”, reports said on Saturday. TEHRAN (AFP) Hundreds of Iranian civil rights activists have signed an open letter calling for the release of a women’s rights advocate arrested for “acting against national security”, reports said on Saturday.
Women’s rights and environmental activist Khadijeh Moghaddam, 56, was arrested on April 8 and bail has been set at one billion rials (108,000 dollars).
Some 600 activists have signed the letter demanding that “Khadijeh Moghaddam’s illegal detention end as soon as possible,” the reformist Sarmayeh newspaper said.
“Moghaddam is a pioneer in environmental protection in Iran,” the letter said, noting her cooperation with city officials over waste management and protests against deforestation.
“She has been active for years in creating jobs for women and forming women’s cooperatives,” it added. “Who would believe Moghaddam has harmed national security or caused public offence?”
Moghaddam has also been involved with the “one million signature” campaign — an attempt to change Iranian laws that discriminate against women by collecting signatures online and in person.
Several women have been jailed for their involvement in the campaign as Iran has stepped up arrests of human rights campaigners and trade unionists over the past year.
One of the campaign’s figureheads, Parvin Ardalan, was banned in March from leaving Iran to collect a prestigious Swedish rights award, the Olof Palme Prize, that she had won for her contributions to the women’s rights movement.
The signature campaign was launched after a June 2006 demonstration for equal rights for women in inheritance, divorce and child custody, at which nearly 70 protestors were arrested amid allegations of police brutality.