Constructive Creativity

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Arrest of a Courageous Woman and Friend

Usually, I confine my posting on political matters to my Apolitical Deconstruction blog. However, I am going to make an acception in this case, as the subject of this post really hits me close to home! This past Sunday (March 4), 33 Iranian women were arrested while conducting a peaceful demonstration in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. They were expressing their solidarity with 5 other women who had been arrested during a previous peaceful demonstration conducted this past summer. One of the women arrested on Sunday is my friend Parastoo! Here is Parastoo's picture that she displays on her Orkut page:

Here are a couple of articles that provide an excellent discussion of the details of the women's arrest: 1.)
BBC News article; 2.) article written by Syma Sayyah, a writer and social activist living in Tehran.

Would you please consider signing the petition calling for the release of these women?
Here is a link to a web page containing the petition.

Finally, if you feel really motivated to take action (like me!!), you can send lots of emails to Iranian officials. The relevant email addresses are listed at
this Amnesty International page, along more detailed info on the situation.

Here is a copy of the email that I sent to all the officials named on the Amnesty page:

Your Excellency,

I am an American who has had the honor to become friends with a number of very outstanding Iranian people. I have great respect for Iran and her ancient culture.

It has come to my attention that 33 Iranian women were arrested on March 4, 2007 while conducting a peaceful demonstration in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran.

I am very concerned that at least one woman, Nahid Ja'fari, was reportedly injured during her arrest, when police allegedly hit her head against a police van, breaking one or more of her teeth. I respectfully ask that she and the other women be granted access to medical attention, their families, and lawyers.

It is my understanding that Article 27 of the Iranian Constitution says, "Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam". In accordance with your own laws and Constitution, I respectfully ask that these 33 women be released immediately and unconditionally.


Thank you my friends for caring about Iranian women's rights!

Update (March 9, 2007): I read that 30 of the 33 women arrested have been released, including my friend Parastoo! I am not 100% sure, but I believe that their families had to post a large bail to get them out of the prison. The three women who are still imprisoned are considered as the "ringleaders" of the peaceful demonstration. This article gives more information on the release of the 30 and the three women still in custody, including their pictures and brief biographies. Finally, Parastoo gave this brief interview after her release that describes the arrest of the women demonstrators and her interrogations in the prison. If you have not signed the petition yet, please do so, as it may help the three women still in prison. Thanks!