Omid Memarian

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Update: We felt we should support all those who were arrested, summoned, or interrogated recently

Sunday- In an interview with BBC Persian, Mansoureh Shojaee, journalist and women’s rights activist in Tehran was interviewed. The gathering was in protest to the trial of five other Iranian women’s rights activists, Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, Parvin Ardalan, Shahla Entesari, Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, and Sussan Tahmasebi, who were arrested in Tehran in June in a gathering in Tehran’s Hafte-Tir Square. Different sources report the number of arrested to be more than 30. It is reported that some of the protestors were beaten by security officers during their arrest and transfer to holding stations.

The arrests take place a few days shy of March 8th, the International Women’s Day. Mansoureh Shojaee, a women’s rights activist who was present during the gathering was interviewed.

Ms. Shojaee said: “Pursuant to a communiqué several women’s rights groups organized together, in order to show our support for the five women who were to be tried today, we gathered together. Their court date was scheduled at the threshold of March 8th, and we felt we should support all those who were arrested, summoned, or interrogated recently We were supposed to get together at 8:30 a.m. this morning in front of Revolutionary Court on Moallem Avenue. The five women went in. The police came and asked us to disperse. Our friends had placards. They tried to disperse us. But we didn’t disperse. We went and sat on the pavement. While sitting on the pavement, the police engaged with the group again. They kept telling us to get up and go. They said ‘why are you sitting here?’ Then vehicles were brought in and they started arresting some of us. The rest of us are now here, in front of Vozara [complex], waiting to see when they will release our friends.”

Asked by the BBC interviewer whether those arrested were chanting slogans or doing anything disorderly, Ms. Shojaee said:
“No. No. No. No. No slogans were chanted. Only the placards in our friends’ hands which said that according to Article 27 of Iranian Constitution, a gathering is our right. This was the most prominent slogan on the placards. No one, no one was chanting slogans. There was no noise. Everybody was sitting on the pavement. There was no ‘incident.’ It all happened in one moment. First they verbally abused the group, and then they beat them up. One of our friends’ teeth are broken. Mrs. Shadfar, a 67-year old woman received such a blow to her back, that she can’t straighten up now.”

The interviewer asked Ms. Shojaee how she knew where the arrested individuals were taken. She said:

“They pushed those arrested into a small bus and several large vans and took them. Since many of them had cellular phones [which as yet had not been confiscated], they managed to call and tell us the roads they were taking, and we followed them here. From what we know, we have 33-34 names of those who were arrested. Families of those arrested are gathering one by one, and now we understand that there might be 38-40 people arrested. All the families are here now. We are going to sit here until we know the fate of our friends.”
Photo: Arash Ashoorinia's Website, Kosoof


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