Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Human Rights First - Iran Must Respect Defenders' Right to Travel

Human Rights First :
" On December 10, women's rights activist andattorney Nasrin Sotoudeh and her family went to the Imam KhomeiniAirport. Ms. Sotoudeh's passport was confiscated by securityofficials at the Imam Khomeini Airport as she was about to leave for Italy,where she was to receive the 2008 Human Rights International Prize. Ms.Sotoudeh's travel ban is a continuation of a policy of sustained repressiondirected at human rights defenders.

Ms. Sotoudeh is not alone. At least four other women's rights activistshave gone through the same experience: Parvin Ardalan, MansourehShojaee, Talat Taghinia, and Sussan Tahmasebi. Furthermore, EshaMomeni, member of the One Million Signatures Campaign for genderequality, is still unable to leave Iran, as the Ministry ofIntelligence continues to hold her passport."

Please sign the following petition and spread the word:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Professor Wall's Statement about CSUN graduate student Esha Momeni

In a statement Esha Momeni's academic adviser Professor Melissa Wall urged the Iranian government to allow Esha Momeni to come back to CSUN:

"It is December 8th, and we are still waiting after two long months, for Esha to return to the United States and her academic program. The last few weeks have been wrought with confusion. At first Esha was banned from leaving Iran. Then, Iranian officials said that she was free to come back to the United States but they wouldn't give her back her passport. Clearly, it appears she is not free to leave. This is a problem because it leaves her months behind in her academic work. Esha has not submitted any of the work required to earn her thesis, because her video was seized. She is now months behind in her academic work, and the deadline to file to graduate will soon pass. Her other professors and I are asking the Iranian government to lift her travel ban, give back her passport and allow her to return to California in time to enroll for Spring semester."

Professor Wall further expressed these concerns in a radio program on KPFK's indymedia. You can listen to this program here. Below is a quote from Esha's classmate Anasa Sinegal in this radio program:
She is still not able to leave the country - not only are we continually worried about her well-being, we are also worried about her standing in our program. Is she going to be able to come back here and finish her degree? . . . And we also just really want her to graduate with us, to stand on that stage. We've become a tight knit family. We're worried that's not going to happen. We want her back as soon as possible so that we can talk to her and see her again and we can all graduate come May 2009.

To help Esha:
Write a letter asking the Iranian government to drop all charges and allow Esha to return to California to complete her degree. Based on the recommendations of the Observatory for Human Rights Defenders, consider the following text:
Please guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Esha Momeni, and immediately drop all charges and allow Ms. Momeni to return to the US without conditions to complete her academic work. Her arrest was in connection with her peaceful activities in support of equal rights for women in Iran and in the context of her graduate research.
Send to:
Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228.

Also read:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Delegates from Association of American Universities (AAU) during a meeting with Iranian Officials expressed their concerns regarding Esha's arrest

According to the Cornell Daily Sun, while in Iran from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20, David Skorton, President of Cornell University, along with several other delegates from Association of American Universities (AAU), met with Iranian Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi. Skorton said that during meetings with academic faculties and with Zahedi, the issue of roadblocks to scholastic freedom were brought up.

The article further states that:

"The general issue and specific issue [of safety] were brought up on numerous occasions, with faculty, with university administrators and with the minister of science," Skorton said. AAU spokesperson Barry Toiv stated in an e-mail, "Now, a very high percentage of the country receives a college education. Interestingly, 60 percent of that student population is women, despite the severe limits placed on women in Iranian society as a whole."

According to Leebron, the delegation expressed their concerns to Minister Zahedi regarding "what [the delegates] would call interference" with academic freedom. They were particularly concerned with American-born Esha Momeni, a graduate student at California State University at Northridge, who was arrested in Tehran in mid-October while researching the Iran's women's movement. He called this case "one particular point of difficulty."

Read more>>

Interview with Iranian Woman Activist and Campaigner: Hoda Aminian

Interview by: Sussan Tahmasebi, Change for Equality
I am 25 years old. I have a BS in Surveying and am currently working on my
Masters in City Planning. My focus is on women and the use of public
spaces. The Campaign has been an enormously empowering experience for
me. Prior to entering the Campaign, I had lost hope and had become
disillusioned. I felt like I needed to do something to positively improve
my society and to positively impact the lives of women in my country, but
I was constantly faced with closed doors to this end. I could not find a
place to go and be active on behalf of women's rights and my own concerns.
When the Campaign started it changed the environment of the women's
movement and younger women were afforded an opportunity to get involved.
From among the 50 volunteers that I follow up with, none have been
dissuaded from involvement in the Campaign because of security pressures
or at least they have not expressed their concerns to me. I share news and
info on developments in the Campaign with the group I am responsible for.
When I shared the news about sentences issued in the case of Campaign
activists, like the sentence issued for Delaram Ali, most activists wrote
back expressing their support and concern and asked what if anything they
could do for us. Or when we shared news about Esha's Momeni's release from
prison, we received a lot of supportive messages from volunteers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Iran urged to halt "crackdown" on women activists

According to a report by the U.N. Human Rights Council, Iran is among 163 countries to have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees fundamental freedoms including the right to opinion and peaceful association. "Women's participation in public life to promote an equal treatment of women and men in the Islamic Republic of Iran should be encouraged as a means to build a stronger and healthier society," the investigators said.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bring Esha Home- A Video by Friends of Esha