Free Esha Momeni Now (10/22/08)

We hear about these horrible incidents, often fictionalized in movies and novels. An idealistic, compassionate person is detained and imprisoned. Cold and calculated attempts by repressive regimes to silence critics are as old as history itself. Sometimes it hits so close to home that you can feel it deep in your gut. Such is the current situation involving Esha Momeni, an American-born student of Iranian descent. Since her arrest on October 15th, Esha has languished in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. Her supposed crime was conducting video interviews related to issues of feminism, with members of an organization that has experienced consistent harrassment and intimidation by the Iranian government. From the sketchy reports that are emerging, she is now in solitary confinement, and her family is also being harassed. 

 

Photograph by Esha Momeni, taken in my Documentary class

A truly gifted artist: photograph by Esha Momeni, taken in my documentary class

 

Esha’s concern for the state of women in Iran is real– all too real it now appears. I, along with other members of Esha’s thesis committee, warned her of the inherent danger of her pursuing this line of research toward her Master’s degree. Esha good-naturedly downplayed the danger, and I remember saying to the committee that it appeared that nothing we could say was going to stop her from her work. 

 

I’ve known Esha as her professor and her friend– she is a lovely person, with the soul of an artist.  Esha Momeni is not some political rebel, looking to overthrow or undermine the powers-that-be. She is an advocate only for the rights of women in her home country. And now by forced by circumstances, she also represents the universal human right of Freedom of Expression, artistic or otherwise. To think of her in her present condition is deeply disturbing and frightening.  Whatever can be done to help her MUST be done.

Google her name and you will see that her cause is being taken up worldwide. I’m also including some contact information for those who wish to write on her behalf.

CNN online article on Esha

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Campaign for Equality, launched in 2006, is an Iranian women’s rights initiative composed of a network of women and men committed to ending discrimination against women in Iranian law. The Campaign gives volunteers basic legal training, and these volunteers travel around the country promoting the Campaign, talking with women in their homes, as well as in public places, telling them about their rights and the need for legal reform. The volunteers are also collecting one million signatures of Iranian nationals for a petition demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iran.

DOZENS OF ACTIVISTS AND SUPPORTERS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR ACTIVITIES FOR THE CAMPAIGN FOR EQUALITY, SOME WHILE COLLECTING SIGNATURES FOR THE PETITION DEMANDING AN END TO LEGAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN IRAN. AS OF OCTOBER 2008, THE CAMPAIGN’S WEBSITE HAD BEEN BLOCKED BY THE AUTHORITIES AT LEAST 16 TIMES (SEE:HTTP://WWW.CHANGE4EQUALITY.COM). OFFICIAL PERMISSION TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETINGS HAS FREQUENTLY BEEN DENIED, AND CAMPAIGN ACTIVISTS USUALLY HOLD THEIR WORKSHOPS IN THE HOMES OF SYMPATHIZERS, SOME OF WHOM HAVE THEN RECEIVED THREATENING PHONE CALLS APPARENTLY FROM SECURITY OFFICIALS OR BEEN SUMMONED BY THEM FOR INTERROGATION. AT LEAST ONE SUCH WORKSHOP WAS FORCIBLY BROKEN UP BY POLICE, WHO ARRESTED THOSE PRESENT, BEATING SOME.

 

Two women, Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi, remain detained in the city of Sanandaj, Kordestan province (see UA 297/07, MDE 13/130/2007, 7 November 2007), while a third woman, Zeynab Beyezidi is imprisoned in Mahabad in connection with their activities on behalf of the Campaign for Equality.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO ARRIVE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, IN PERSIAN, ARABIC, ENGLISH AND FRENCH OR YOUR OWN LANGUAGE:

- expressing concern at the arrest of Esha Momeni, and urging on the authorities to treat her humanely in detention, and protect her from torture or other ill-treatment;

- asking the authorities to ensure that while in detention she is granted immediate and regular access to her family, a lawyer of her choice, and any medical treatment she may require;

- expressing concern that her arrest was apparently in connection with her peaceful activities in support of equal rights for women in Iran and in the context of her graduate research;

- urging the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally if she is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought to trial promptly and fairly;

Addresses:
    * 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, Email: info@leader.ir / istiftaa@wilayah.org / webmaster@wilayah.org;
    * President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir;
    * Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567 / +98 21 3 390 4986, Email: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir;
    * Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email: matbuat@mfa.gov;
    * Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran, His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani, C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827
    * Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int;
    * Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: iran-embassy@yahoo.com.

9 Responses to “Free Esha Momeni Now (10/22/08)”

  1. […] You can read the rest on his blog. […]

  2. David, I’m sorry to hear of this travesty! What do you suppose is the best way to make a difference? I can certainly write a letter to Iranian offices… I just can’t imagine a letter from an American citizen or two is going to make a difference. I don’t believe we any longer have an American ambassador to Iran. And please excuse my ignorance if we do, but I don’t think so… are there any powerful middle east “agents” (for lack of a better word) that could put pressure on the Iranian powers that be?

  3. I understand your feeling of helplessness . . . I feel the same to some degree, but in the immediate sense the thing to do is publicize the issue, and try to get the media on the story, which will hopefully serve to embarrass the Iranian government. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of a letter writing campaign.

  4. Got it… thanks for the petition link too.

    I’m so sorry David. It’s a truly scary thing and I’ll gladly help however I can!

  5. […] Vanessa @ Feministing (via Feminist Daily News); more from CNN, DKos, Melissa Wall, and David Blumenkrantz.  Also see this article on the 0ne Million Signatures Campaign, written by Momeni in […]

  6. […] bloggenkrantz: Since her arrest on October 15th, Esha has languished in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. Her […]

  7. (I left this comment on Professor Wall’s blog, as well.)

    I just read this article and I’ve been telling everyone I know online about it. I was wondering if I could reach you on campus (or anyone interested) and speak to you about organizing something at CSUN for awareness. I don’t know if anyone else is doing anything, but I think we can really create something to bring more awareness about this to the campus community.

    You can reach me by email at billimarie[dot]r[at]gmail[dot]com…I look forward to hearing from you or anyone else ASAP.

    Thanks,

    Billimarie

    I should mention that I’ve also contacted numerous activist colleagues of mine (I work closely with the Gender & Women’s Studies department, as well as a few activism groups/organizations on and off of campus). I also sent an email to President Koester, who is familiar with my work.
    Anyway, just wanted to shoot you and anyone else interested a message…hopefully we can make something, if just awareness, happen.

  8. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE13/155/2008/en/14a82576-a029-11dd-81c4-792550e655ec/mde131552008en.html

  9. […] Esha Momeni Now (10/22/08) This is the lunacy with which Barack Obama will have to contend when “talking” to the ma… We hear about these horrible incidents, often fictionalized in movies and novels. An idealistic, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 426 other followers

%d bloggers like this: