(9 April 2008) Iranian authorities marked the arrival of the Persian New Year with an extensive campaign of summonses and detentions of social and labor activists, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
On April 8, security forces detained Khadijeh Moghadam, a women’s rights activist, at her home in Tehran. Two members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburban Bus Company were questioned by the Revolutionary Court on the same day. Shiraz University’s Disciplinary Committee also summoned 30 students for their participation in peaceful protests in March.Security forces broke into the house of Khadijeh Moghadam, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, transferring her to the Revolutionary Court where she was interrogated. Judge Sobhani issued a temporary detention order for her and set bail in amount of 100 million Toman ($110,000) as a condition for her release. According to the One Million Signatures Campaign’s website, “Change for Equality,” Moghadam protested her detention as she was transferred from the Revolutionary Court to Vozara detention center.
The website quoted Moghadam as saying: “I was questioned about private gatherings in my house involving the Campaign’s members. I told them holding celebrations, funerals, or private gatherings are not a crime. The interrogators insisted on learning the names of Campaign members who had been to my house. I refused to answer because I believe it is immoral. I am charged with ‘acting against national security,’ ‘propaganda against the state,’ and ‘disturbing public opinion.’” She also said she could not post such a large amount in bail and the authorities responded by telling her: “You’ll go to prison for a week and will end up providing us names as well as posting bail.”
On the same day, Branch 14 of the Security Police in Tehran summoned Saeed Torabian and Mohammad Ebrahim Noroozi Gowhari, two labor activists, the labor news agency Dastranj reported. They were questioned regarding the internal newsletter of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburban Bus Company. The authorities released them after interrogation. Several other members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburban Bus Company have also been summoned.
As university campuses opened after the Persian New Year holidays, officials at Shiraz University issued summonses for 30 students to Disciplinary Committees. In March, thousands of Shiraz University students held peaceful sit-ins for a week protesting the University Chancellor’s policies. Officials have increased their prosecution of students in connection with the sit-ins. Disciplinary Committees are empowered to ban students on a temporary basis from continuing their education. During the past few years, Disciplinary Committees have banned over a hundred students from continuing their education.