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Imprisoned Kurds, Women's Rights

Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, Iran's prosecutor-general
Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, Iran's prosecutor-general

Group Fears Rise In Death Sentences For Jailed Kurds

In a statement issued on January 20, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran expressed concern toward the unfair trials and rise in death sentences for Kurdish activists in Iran.

Hadi Ghaemi, the New York spokesman for the campaign, tells Radio Farda that right now there are 19 Kurdish prisoners in a danger of being executed. He stresses that in all these recent cases there is no evidence showing these arrested Kurds were armed, and the court is linking them to the armed Kurdish groups with no clear proof.

He believes that some extremists such as conservative MP Rouhollah Hosseinian and Prosecutor-General Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei are attempting to repeat the massacres of the 1980s.

“We see someone like Hosseinian asking the parliament to decrease the appeal period of the court from 20 to five days, which brings up a huge concern that new, pervasive executions are on the way," Ghaemi says.

[listen in Farsi]

Activists Issue Statement On Women's Rights In Iran

At least 130 civil activists inside and outside Iran have signed a statement urging Iranians to acknowledge that women's issues are central to Iran's problems and also to those problems' solutions.

The statement goes on to suggest five measures to resolve the turmoil in Iran. These include repealing all discriminatory laws, recognizing the rights of women over their own minds and bodies (including revoking compulsory veiling), eliminating violence against women, separating church and state, and trying those who have committed crimes against women in the past 30 years.

Radio Farda talks to Soudabeh Ardavan, a painter and political activist who signed the statement, about women's rights in Iran. Ardavan was imprisoned for eight years during the 1980s, and she later wrote a book about the life of women in prisons.

She says these five solutions are basic rules of any just society. Regarding compulsory veiling she says, "I believe the compulsory veil was one of the worst things that was imposed on us... It is so meaningless that someone else decides about your personal issues."

Although some people say that now is not the right time to bring up such gender issues, Ardavan disagrees. "When I see unfairness, I can't wait," she says. "I will talk about it... Any time is the right time to protest against those rules."

[listen in Farsi]