Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Interrogations of Women Continue

Maryam Dastgir, Rooz Online:
Activists of the women’s movement in Iran have been under interrogations by security agents since their last rally in Tehran on June 12. According to a Rooz reporter from Tehran, two of the activists who are also founders of the Women’s Cultural Center Nooshin Ahmadi Khorasani and Parvin Ardalan received their arrest warrants after participating in the June 12th demonstration. They appeared at the designated security center and were interrogated. At the same time former member of Parliament and former member of Daftar-e Tahkim Vahdat student organization Mousavi Khoeini who was arrested during the rally continues to be in detention. READ MORE

Nasrin Sotoodeh and Zohreh Arzani who are the defense attorneys for Ardalan and Ahmadi Khorasani told Rooz that they would like to not respond to press questions before they have received the questions from security authorities. These attorneys have already been denied access to their clients. Both Khorasani and Ardalan have appeared everyday at a security center to answer questions posed by security officials. The sessions have been as long as 4 to 6 hours in which most of the questions have revolved around the June 12 rally. That rally was supported by many international organization including 5 Nobel Peace prize winning women activists. The organizers of the rally had announced that the rally was not a political one and that they would even refrain from chanting any slogans during the march. That rally was disrupted violently and policewomen were used for the first time to break-up the gathering who used batons and lewd language. At the end of the day, some 60 men and women activists were arrested.

In the days following the rally, many activists in the women’s movement who participated in the rally were summoned by the intelligence bureau of the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards through telephone calls. Such intervention by the Passdaran is unprecedented in its history.

Both Ardalan and Khorasani face charges of activities against the state, which both have rejected. These two civil society activists have been released on 10 million Toman bonds (approximately $10000). One day before the rally, the website of the Women’s Cultural Center had been filtered and denied access to the public.