UPDATE: (9 October 2008) On 6 September 2008, Ronak Safazadeh was sentenced to 9 months in prison and a $208 (2 million Rial) fine by the Public Court of Piranshar. The court charged her with illegally exiting the border and using satellite equipment. No sentence has been issued by the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj related to Ronak’s primary case.
UPDATE: (2 October 2008) According to Ronak Safazadeh’s lawyer, Mohammad Sharif, her file was completed on 27 April 2008 and is referred to the First Branch of the Islamic Court of Sanandaj for processing. Ronak is charged with “taking up arms against the state,” [Moharebeh], brought by the Sanandaj prosecutor’s office. While awaiting sentencing Ronak is being kept in the Central Prison of Sanandaj. On two occasions, because the prosecutor claims there is evidence of Ronak acting against national security, her lawyer requested the court to be delayed to bring witnesses in the presence of Ronak and her lawyer.
Ronak has suffered from severe digestive infections while in prison, which have been ignored by prison officials. Her condition escalated until 25 July 2008, when she was taken to a hospital in Sanandaj to receive treatment for her infections.
On 13 August, Ronak was taken to the Fourth Magistrate’s Branch of Sanandaj where she was officially charged with “propaganda against national security” for leaking news about prison conditions to the outside world
Ronak Safazadeh (21), arrested on October 9, 2007, is a women’s rights activist in Sanadaj, capital of the western province of Kurdistan. She is a member of the local women’s organization, Azarmehr Association of Kurdish Women. Ronak actively campaigned for women’s rights by disseminating information and collecting signatures on behalf of the One Million Signature Campaign. The One Million Signature Campaign is a nationwide effort to remove discrimination against women from Iranian laws.
On October 9, 2007, agents of the Intelligence Ministry arrested Ronak outside her house in Sanandaj, as she walked on her way to work. They searched her house and confiscated Ronak’s computer, books and literature related to the One Million Signature Campaign.
The day before her arrest, Ronak participated in a celebration of Children’s Day in which she collected signatures for the One Million Signature Campaign. A month later, Intelligence Ministry officials also arrested Ronak’s friend and co-campaigner, Hana Abdi ,on November 4, 2007. Despite persistent attempts by Ronak’s family to visit her and to learn of the reason for her arrest, the authorities have not disclosed any information about her case.
For nearly four months, Ronak was held and interrogated in Intelligence Ministry headquarters. On January 25, 2008, Mohammad Sharif, Hana’s lawyer, told the Iranian Student News Agency that Hana had been transferred to Sanandaj’s Central Prison. The authorities have not allowed Ronak’s family to visit her.
More than 600 women’s rights defenders have signed a petition protesting Ronak’s arrest and calling for her immediate release.