Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
However, Esha Momeni's passport has not been returned to her and according to close friends, Esha was told by the officials today that this news was incorrect and that she does not have permission to leave the country.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
In its statement, the Observatory welcomes the release of Ms. Esha Momeni, and thanks all the persons, institutions and organizations who intervened in her favor. It further states that Momeni's release was on a bail of $200,000 met by the deeds to her family's apartment. The statement adds:
"... the Observatory recalls that Ms. Esha Momeni remains charged with "propaganda against the State", and expresses its deep concern about the ongoing harsh repression of the Iranian authorities against human rights defenders, in particular women's rights activists involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign. To that extent, the Observatory recalls that more than a hundred of women's rights activists have been arrested, interrogated, or sentenced in the past two years and that the government has raised over one million Euros by imprisoning the activists and releasing them on high bail."
For complete text of the appeal click here:
Thursday, November 13, 2008
"I am very proud of all of my graduate students who have worked so hard to let the world know about Esha Momeni's situation and who stand here tonight asking that Esha be allowed to return to Cal State Northridge to finish her degree with her classmates.
I am especially proud of Esha - for the courage she has shown in order to share with us a seemingly simple message: Iranian women are more complex and a lot tougher than the images we so often see of them.
We are not here tonight to offer Esha or any other Iranian woman our pity - but we offer our understanding and our solidarity and to share our hope that Esha be allowed to rejoin us soon to continue her academic work."
Video posted by Los Angeles Daily News, November 13
Here are a few links to news and photos about this event:
Other related posts:
90 Scholars signed a statement for Esha Momeni's release
Letter of American Association of University Professors to the Iranian officials about Esha Momeni
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
A vigil/celebration for Esha's release and awaiting her safe return is scheduled for tomorrow, Nov. 12, in Calstate Northridge in front of the Oviatt Library at 4:30. Daily News reported on the release of Esha Momeni including interviews with her professors and classmates:
At California State University, Northridge, professors and classmates of Momeni, who are busy planning a vigil/celerbration [for tomorrow] in support of the grad student's release, celebrated the news. "These three weeks have probably been some of the most difficult weeks I have ever experienced," said professor Melissa Wall, adviser for the communications graduate program at CSUN.
"But these weren't wasted weeks. We have all learned a lot about ourselves and about the obstacles that exist in communication between these two very different countries and cultures. These were the exact issues Esha's work focused on and even though this has all been very difficult, maybe eventually something good will come out of this."
Read more>> http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_10951919
In an interview with CNN, Elise Auerbach, the Iran specialist for Amnesty International USA, commented on a recent news on Esha Momeni's charge.
According to CNN, Auerbach stated that "Tehran's deputy general prosecutor, Hasan Hadad, has 'deliberately leaked' to the state-run media his intentions to charge Momeni with propaganda against the state". The Iranian judiciary has not commented on Momeni's release. "A lot of people have faced that charge," Auerbach said. "It's kind of a vague, loosely worded charge that's kind of convenient. They can use it against whomever they want basically." Auerbach said Momeni is not the only woman involved with Change for Equality who has been jailed recently; at least three women who worked with the group are being detained, she said. As of Tuesday morning, the Iranian government had not returned Momeni's passport and travel papers, Auerbach said.
According to this report, Hadi Ghaemi, coordinator for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said he believes Tehran wants to stifle the women's rights movement, and Momeni's arrest was meant to intimidate like-minded scholars or activists. "We see here detention as a method of pressuring that movement on a broader scale," he said. "The government would very much like to quiet these women."
Monday, November 10, 2008
(a deed to her family's house). According to the deputy general prosecutor of Tehran, Hasan Hadad,the charge against Esha is "propaganda against the state". Esha Momeni, a graduate student at California State University Northridge, and a volunteer in the One Million Signatures Campaign had been kept in solitary confinement since October 15.
This weblog will continue its work until the return of Esha to California and to her studies at CSUN. Any future news as her case progresses through the courts will be posted here.
We, the undersigned, have heard with great alarm of the arrest in Tehran, on Wednesday October 15, 2008, of Esha Momeni, a graduate student conducting research in Iran as part of her Master's degree requirements in Mass Communications at California State University, Northridge. She has not been charged with any offense, and has not been allowed contact with her lawyer.
Esha Momeni had been in Iran for two months to visit her family and to conduct research for her Master's degree thesis, which included interviews with some members of a grassroots women's rights campaign called the "One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws." The Campaign has made it clear that its activities are peaceful that it has no political objectives.
Esha has stated that the purpose of her work is to better the lives of her fellow citizens and banish negative stereotypes of Iranians through photo and film. Ms. Momeni has passionately sought to promote inter-cultural communication between Americans and Iranians and we are therefore dismayed that she should have been arrested and detained despite not having engaged in any unlawful activities.
We, the undersigned professors, academics, and concerned scholars stand in solidarity with California-State University Northridge in condemning Esha's detention and the confiscation of her research material. We therefore respectfully urge you:
- to release Ms. Momeni immediately and give back her research materials so that she can return to complete her education.
- to guarantee that Ms. Momeni is treated fairly and provided all legal rights due her in detention, including immediate and regular access to her family, lawyer and any medical treatment necessary in light of her medical condition (kidney stones).
- to affirm your commitment to the promotion of free and open dialogue to the benefit of all scholars and academic institutions across the world.
Intellectual exchange and scholarly collaboration are essential for fostering knowledge and academic inquiry in our communities. These activities only benefit us all.
. Ahmed-Ghosh, Huma – Professor, Department of Women's Studies, Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies, San Diego State University
. Alamdari, Kazem – Professor, Department of Sociology, California State University, Northridge
. Alpers Edward A., Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles
. Amiran, Eyal - Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
. Benavides, José Luis - Associate Professor, Journalism Department, California State University, Northridge
. Bitel, Lisa M. – Professor and Chair, Gender Studies Program Director, Monastic Matrix University of Southern California
. Brown, Brené - Professor, Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston
. Bloch, Ruth - Professor, Department of History, University of California, Los Angeles
. Blumenkrantz, David - Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, California State University, Northridge
. Bruhn, Lisa M. – Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California Santa Barbara
. Brodkin, Karen – Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
. Bruhn, Kathleen – Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara
. Burton, Mike M. - Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
. Chomsky, Noam - Institute Professor & Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
. Cooperson, Michael, Professor of Arabic, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California Los Angeles
. Cooper, Melinda – Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Sydney
. Coutin, Susan – Professor, Department of Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine
. Dabashi, Hamid – Professor, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
. Davaran, Fereshteh - University of California, Berkley
. Deeb Lara - Associate Professor, Department of Women's Studies, University of California, Irvine
. Demovic, Angela R. - Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Wichita State University
. ElShakry, Omnia - Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California, Davis
. Eileraas, Karina - Department of Women's Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
. Estrin, Deborah – Professor, Department of Computer Science, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of California, Los Angeles
. Ejikeme, Anene - Assistant Professor, Department of History, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas
. Gallagher, Nancy – Chair and Professor, Middle East Studies Program, University of California Santa Barbara
. Garb, Paula – Professor, Co-Director of the Center for Citizen Peace Building, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
. Gheytanchi, Elham - Sociology Department, Santa Monica College
. Gibson, Steve – Professor , Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles
. Giroux, Henry A. – Chair and Professor, Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University
. Golden, Rebecca - Department of Anthropology, Tulane University
. Grewal, Inderpal - Professor, Women's Studies, School of Humanities, University of California, Irvine
. Gutter, Briana - Department of Communication Studies, California State University, Northridge
. Hale, Sondra – Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles
. Hasenauer, Jim - Professor, Communication Studies, California State University, Northridge
. Hayes, John L. - Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Southern California, Berkeley
. Hirsch, Barbara - Arts Library, University of California, Santa Barbara
. Hoffman, Donald D. – Professor, Department of Cognitive Sciences, University of California, Irvine
. Holmes, Douglas - Professor, Department of Anthropology, Harpur College of Arts and Science, State University of New York at Binghamton
. Hussain, Hassan, Department of Modern Languages, Santa Monica College
. Joseph, Suad - Director, Middle East/South Asia Studies, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis
. Jarratt, Susan C. – Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
. Kagan, Al - Professor of Library Administration and African Studies Bibliographer , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
. Karimi-Hakkak, Ahmad - Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland
. Kaminski, Marek – Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine
. Keddie, Nikki- Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of California ,Los Angeles
. King, Katherine – Professor, Department of Comparative Literature and Classics, University of California, Los Angeles
. Klammer, Thomas P. - Dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences at California State University, Fullerton
. Kramer, Alejandra Letelier –Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
. Lavine, Adrienne – Chair and Professor , Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles
. Littleton, Christine A. – Chair and Professor , Women's Studies Department, University of California, Los Angeles
. Mailloux Steven , Professor of English and Chancellor's Professor of Rhetoric
University of California, Irvine
. Makau, Lynn - Assistant Professor , Department of English Program in African American & African Studies, Center for Gender in Global Context, Michigan State University
. Marafiote, Tracy - Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, State University of New York, Fredonia
. Marshall, Jennifer , Department of Communication Studies; California State University, Northridge
. McClary, Susan – Professor, Department of Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles
. Mashayekhi, Mehrdad - Assistant Professor , Department of Sociology, George Town University, Washington, DC
. Miller-Von Ah, Jenna - Graduate Coordinator , Department of Women's Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
. Mitchell, Laura – Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of California, Irvine
. Montoya Michael-- Assistant Professor , Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
. Monroe, Kristen Renwick – Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine
. Mufti, Aamir - Associate Professor , Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Los Angeles
. Navab, Mohammad - Professor of Cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles
. Pateman, Carole – Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles
. Pacheco, Denise - Department of Education and Informational Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
. Peterson, Kristin - Assistant Professor , Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
. Pirnazar, Jaleh - Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkley
. Pottie, Gregory – Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Associate Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of California, Los Angeles
. Rahimieh, Nasrin – Professor, Humanities Department of Comparative Literature , Maseeh Chair and Director, Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies, University of California, Irvine
. Robertson, James B. - Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics, University of California, Santa Barbara
. Rahmandad, Hazhir – Assistant Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, Virginia Tech
. Rodriguez, Jason - Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
. Sabar, Yona – Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles
. Saberi, Kourosh – Professor, Department of Cognitive Sciences, University of California, Irvine
. Sahimi, Mohammad – Professor, NIOC Chair in Petroleum Engineering, University of Southern California
. Sakharov, Mae - Educational Director, College Counselor and School Consultant
. Schwab, Gabriele - Chancellor's Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
. Searls-Giroux, Susan - Associate Professor, Department of English and Cultural, Studies, McMaster University
. Sharpe, Jenny- Professor, Department of English, University of California, Los Angeles
. Shigekane, Rachel - Director of Programs Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
. Schaefer, Karl R. - Professor of Librarianship, Director of the Center for the Humanities, Drake University
. Solomon-Godeau, Abigail - Professor, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara
. Sorrells, Kathryn - Associate Professor , Department of Communication Studies, California State University, Northridge
. Terada, Rei –Professor, Director, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
. Tsao, Tsu-Chin –Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of California, Los Angeles
. Thiong'o, Ngugi wa - Director, International Center for Writing and Translation, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
. Tohidi, Nayereh - Chair and Professor, Gender & Women's Studies, California State University, Northridge
. Vatter, Sherry – Lecturer, Department of History, California State University, Long Beach
. Wall, Melissa - Associate Professor of Communication, California State University, Northridge
. Winant, Howard – Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
. Williams, Betty - 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, A Founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement
Friday, November 7, 2008
You can read the complete translation of this interview here.
According to AKI, the Italian government has made a formal complaint to Iran about the arrest of Esha Momeni and called for her immediate release.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Franco Frattini, has instructed the Italian ambassador in Tehran to formally convey the government's concerns and express its strong expectations for a positive outcome. Frattini has also asked the head of his department to meet the Iranian envoy on Monday to discuss the issue and to receive a direct explanation for the reasons behind the Esha's arrest and the prospects for her release.
Leading Women and Human Rights Organizations Issue Statement in Support of Women’s Rights Defenders in Iran
Leading women and human rights organizations have issued a statement objecting to the recent increase in pressures on women’s rights activists involved in the One Million Signature Campaign. The letter is issued by: Human Rights First; International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific; Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights; International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH); Equality Now; Center for Global Women’s Leadership; Association for Women’s Rights in Development; Human Rights Watch; The Asia Pacific Forum on Women and Development (APWLD); International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran; Front Line – The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders; Foundation for Women, Law and Rural Development (FORWARD); World Organization Against Torture (OMCT); and Women Living Under Muslim Laws – International Solidarity Network. The letter objects to the harrassment of women's rights activists and urges the Iranian government to respect their rights. It makes specific demands regarding Esha Momeni, Sussan Tahmasebi, Zeinab Peyghambarzadeh, and Parastoo Alahyaari.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The arrest of Esha Momeni comes shortly after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s insistence, during a visit to the United Nations, that Iranians were free to say what they wanted. While President Ahmedinejad postures unconvincingly on the issue of freedom of expression, Iran’s track record continues to leave much to be desired: in May 2007, US-Iranian academics Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, and California-based peace activist Ali Shakeri, were arrested and held for more than 100 days on suspicion of causing harm to national security. The most irksome aspect of accounts such as these, is the notion that campaigning for women’s right is somehow detrimental to national security. That Iran has so many intelligent, vociferous, and brave women and men willing to fight for the most basic of rights for womankind is admirable and awe-inspiring; far from locking them in the darkest corners of Evin, they should be celebrated for their tenacity.
Read more>> http://caledoniyya.com/2008/11/07/the-arrest-of-esha-momeni/
1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Esha Momeni;
2. Assure that while in detention she is granted immediate and regular access to her family, a lawyer of her choice, and any medical treatment necessary in light of her medical condition (kidney stones);
3. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Iran.
Esha Momeni has been kept in solitary confinement in the Evin prison since October 15th and has not been permitted to speak to her family or her lawyer yet. According to the Iranian Judiciary spokes person Esha Momeni is under investigation for "acting against national security", a charge that a few other women's rights activists have also received in current years.
To sign the petition click here
The Nobel Women’s Initiative is calling—with renewed urgency—for the end to the harassment and arrest of women human rights defenders in Iran.
Authorities arrested campaign member Esha Momeni on October 15, and she is still being held in detention. Momeni is a dual American-Iranian citizen who traveled to Iran to visit family and complete her Master’s research on the Iranian women’s movement. Also last month, Iranian officials prevented campaign member Sussan Tahmasebi from traveling and confiscated campaign materials from the home of Parastoo Alahyaari.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Pressure on women’s rights activists by security forces has entered a new era. According to the “Change for Equality” website, after seizing Susan Tahmasebi’s passport, officials took a film of her house and confiscated some of her CDs, books, writings, course materials, tapes, and her computer. She was traveling to the United States to visit her family and to attend some conferences. Also, Parastou Allahyari’s house, one of the members of the “One Million Signatures Campaign”, was searched last week and her personal belongings such as her laptop, CDs and books were seized.
Peyman Malaz, an International Relations student in the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA), is one of the many individuals that are actively working towards the freedom of Esha Momeni. I had an interview with him about Ms. Momeni’s status, activities of this group of people, as well as the effects that Ms. Momeni’s arrest can have on the other Iranian students.
What do you know about Ms. Momeni’s current status?
- Today, Friday, exactly two weeks and two days have passed since Esha Momeni’s arrest. Unfortunately, not only they haven’t let Esha’s family visit her but also Mr. Dadkhah, Esha’s lawyer, hasn’t been able to read her file.
As you know, in the process of her arrest, none of the legal premises that are required while arresting an accused have occurred.
While she was driving in a high way, she was pulled over by the traffic violation officers and then, she was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison. However, authorities, according to the laws are supposed to send a summon letter to the accused, and give her a deadline to introduce herself to the court.
On the other hand, according to Article 1 of citizenship laws (passed in 2006), “Discovery and following allegation as well as investigation and temporary arrest should be based upon laws and with clear, definite judicial order, and should be independent of personal opinions, power, violation, and additional unnecessary arrests should be prevented.”
According to what I mentioned, Esha’s arrest and later treatment she has received are illegal. Esha went to Iran two months ago to complete her Masters’ thesis. Therefore, she had in-person interviews with some of the activists of the “One Million Signatures Campaign”.
– First, filming, unless in public places, is not illegal in Iran, and there is no need for a permit. In contrast, according to the Citizenship laws, seizure of personal films is illegal.
– Secondly, the “One Million Signatures Campaign” is a non-political movement and its activities are defined within the civil society. The purpose of the Campaign is to change the discriminatory laws against women’s rights.
Criticizing laws and requesting change is not illegal at all and cannot be considered as an accusation.
If some of the citizens believe that the current laws are impractical, and try to discuss it with other citizens, and if they are in agreement, the citizen signs a petition, is their activity illegal?
I don’t understand the logic behind this continuous reaction toward “One Million Signatures Campaign”. I wished just for once, the officials could say frankly how within the boundaries of the Campaign, the activists are doing anything illegal.
There were times that even some of the highest authorities of the government talked about the imbedded discrimination within these laws. Also, some religious clergies had issued statements against these laws. Should one consider taking a stand on these matters illegal as well? Neither researching for a University thesis is a crime, nor volunteering in the “One Million Signatures Campaign”. However, what they are doing to Esha is illegal.
What efforts have been made for Esha’s freedom? What was the academic society’s reaction toward this incident?
- The academic society of US is in shock and confusion. Last week, the President of the California State University- Northridge in a conference announced that he was worried for Esha. He said that he would use all his power, such as visiting Iran’s representative in the United Nations, to pursue this subject matter. He stated, “She [Esha] is a student invested in learning and understanding current conditions in the country of her family’s origin. Anyone who values knowledge and the role of academic inquiry in shedding light on the human condition should be concerned.”
On the other hand, the American Academic Union of Professors (AAUP), which is a 90 years old institute and has 47,000 members in a statement signed by its current president, Ms. Nelson, requested Esha Momeni’s freedom as well as a guarantee for the provision of her primary needs such as visiting her lawyer and sufficient medical care. As Esha’s father said in one of his interviews, Esha suffers from the pain of kidney stones.
There is also an online petition requesting Esha’s immediate release in a web log, (for-esha.blogspot.com)
designed by Esha’s friends, that gathers and reflects news about Esha. Although it has just been a few days since the online petition was imitated, about 2500 people have signed it. They intend send this petition to Iran’s representative in the UN.
Also, different academic centers as well as centers in defense of academic freedom have supported the Northridge University’s statement.
Furthermore, Esha’s arrest in the US media has been widely reflected due to its unusual circumstances, and also because Esha in an US citizen.
Esha’s friends, who try to promote the massage of the “One Million Signatures Campaign” in California, are trying hard to make sure that Esha’s arrest won’t be used as a political tool of Iran and America as well as the complicated relations between them.
Esha was in disagreement with the orientalism approach of the western media and academic atmospheres. One of the main reasons for choosing the topic of her thesis was to show the real character of the Iranian women, who are trying hard for their rights.
On the other hand, because Esha is a US citizen, the US media consider themselves responsible to follow her destiny.
Although some people are misusing this subject matter, Esha always criticized the wrong politics of the US current government as well as the conservative politics in favor of war against Iran.
The misuse of this subject by the media does not help Esha or the Campaign. They will continue to provide coverage because they are interested in the sudden arrest of Esha and the later misbehavior towards her.
People who have kept her in the solitary confinement for two weeks are responsible for the hype around this case.
The imaginary statements that were broadcasted on the second channel of Iran’s state run TV station only shows that program coordinators are unfamiliar with the system of media in the US.
I recommend that makers of these TV programs consult with Dr. Molana, who is an American citizen and lived in the US for more than thirty years, and now is the president’s media consultant.
As an Iranian-American student, what worries do you have regarding Esha’s arrest?
- One of the main barriers to development which impacts Iran is the “Draining of the Geniuses”. Every year, a number of good students leave Iran, and most of them do not intent to go back to Iran, rather they want to study in the universities abroad.
Some of these students study social sciences, which are principles of development in all countries. They do their research on Iran because of their love for Iran. Esha’s arrest and the way she has been treated have worried those students.
It hasn’t been long time since the trip of the authorities of Iran to the US, and the Iranian’s invitation of the Americans to visit Iran yet they stopped a student, who loves Iran, in a freeway as if they were arresting a drug dealer. Are the authorities familiar with the effects of their actions on the Iranian students outside Iran?
Momeni’s family has not received any news about Esha after two weeks. Is this legal or even Islamic? I am so worried for Esha who is jailed for no reason. She is a victim of false and over exaggerated imagination.
Imaginary remarks noted in Keyhan Newspaper are so meaningless that one should not even consider thinking about them. This newspaper called Esha a tie between the US and the Campaign.
This Campaign operates at such high level of transparency that the volunteers even releases its financial report clearly on their website on regular basis.
The members of the Campaign are under pressure, and most of them are free with high bail and under close watch. Now, the official newspaper of the country, using the tax payers’ money, considers a 28 years old student, whose seized films show that she was doing research for her thesis, a connection between the US and the Campaign.
Authorities should know that Esha is an American citizen, because when she was born her dad, who has spent half of his lifetime in road construction in the underprivileged southern parts of Iran, was studying in the United States.
Keyhan Newspaper states that in a press conference, a reporter asks an Iranian official about Esha, and the speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds: “Because Esha is a US citizen, they are investigating about this matter. “
Similar to all other countries, investigating this matter is one of the responsibilities of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, however Keyhan finds this to be news worthy and writes a special article about E-M (Esha Momeni) and starts a new scenario.
I’d like to end this interview with a passage from one of Esha’s sister’s letter to her because these days, I feel the same way:
“My heart is broken, and I am miserable not because I see you behind that jail; but I am heart broken because we are strangers in our own country. I see your loneliness more gloomy and bitter than the nostalgia I feel here, in foreign land.”
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
To My Dear Esha,
Although you made me cry when I heard your sad voice and your outpour of tears over the phone, inside I felt proud of my little Esha who like an exceptional champion and a historic hero will triumph over the effects of an era of injustice. This feeling gives me an inner delight and the strength of a young man.
This brave woman roars like a caged lion, yet she leads a great symphony which will make the universe dance and lifts me like a light-footed angel up to the zenith of my dreams.
In hope of your immediate release,
Your concerned father
The charge against Esha Momeni is a common charge also brought against several women's rights advocates in the One Million Signatures Campaign, a peaceful equal rights campaign aiming at collecting signatures for a petition addressed to the members of the Iranian Parliament.
Esha, a dual citizen of US and Iran and a student in Art and Communications at Cal-State Northridge, was in Iran working on her Master's thesis. Her thesis included interviews with a few members of the One Million Signatures Campaign. Esha Momeni has not been allowed visits by her family or her lawyer since her arrest on October 15 and she is being held in solitary confinement.
Translated by: Leila
Change for equality-Elnaz Ansari: The Arrest of Esha Momeni, a volunteer of the One Million Signatures Campaign, is the latest reaction of security agents in regards to women’s movement. Within the two years of the commencement of the One Million Signatures Campaign, roughly 50 volunteers and activists involved in this Campaign have been arrested. In none of these cases, the assigned judges could identify the request for “Change for Equality” as an illegal movement; however Esha Momeni was arrested for this reason.
She was arrested while driving. Her family is under a lot of pressure not to talk with the media. Nasrin Sotoodeh, well known attorney of law, in her conversation with “Change of Equality” mentioned that the arrest of Esha Momeni is an illegal reaction and she warned the officials regarding the illegality of their actions.
Nasrin Sotoodeh stated: “The major issue with this arrest is the disregard for the basic principles of an arrest which requires the accuser to deliver the summon to the accused, Esha in this case, and the fact that under cover intelligence agents disguised as traffic agents stopped her car and arrested her. This ambiguous action is one of the main civil right violations that applies to Esha Momeni’s case.”
Sotoodeh described dangers of this kind of actions and said: “When we face these types of actions more often, it means we are in tremendous danger due to obstinate agents who do not follow the rules and regulations and their activities pose a threat to civilians.”
The above mentioned lawyer stated that Esha Momeni`s activities of recording and interviewing with campaign activists are not illegal and she further noted: “Ms Momeni was doing her research for an academic project which does not violate any laws, and these types of activities if it is not in the streets or public places does not require any formal permit. As long as the films are kept in a personal archive, they are considered personal properties which you can have in any home and no one is allowed to confiscate them.”
Sotoodeh also commented on the discriminatory laws against woman in regards to the situation of the members of the campaign who were interviewed by Esha, and said: “Under the laws of any land, criticizing the law is not illegal in any part of the world including Iran. In regards to the women’s rights, university professors, journalists, lawyers, and civilians have an aversion to these laws, even some judges identify these laws as injustice. If the criticizing of the law were to be illegal, thousands of people should be arrested”.
After 12 days of Esha’s arrest, there is no information available regarding her condition in the 209 section of the Evin prison and what are the charges against her.
She is one the One Million Signatures Campaign volunteers and has held a few photo exhibitions focusing on women. Esha Momeni interviewed with few of the campaign members in Iran in order to make a short film about the strength of the women rights’ activists in Iran for her master thesis.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
In its letter to the Head of the Judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, Amnesty International called for immediate clarification of the reasons for the detention of Esha Momeni and for her to be released if she has been detained for her peaceful activities in support of the Campaign for Equality. It also asked for the reasons for the actions taken against Sussan Tahmasebi and Parastoo Alahyar and called for all travel bans imposed on account of the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and association, or in order to limit such peaceful exercise, to be lifted immediately and for passports confiscated from human rights activists to be returned to them.
Amnesty International fears that these recent incidents are part of a systematic pattern of harassment and intimidation of peaceful human rights activists by the Iranian authorities.