UPDATE: (30 April 2009) Hana Abdi’s seven month prison sentence was nullified by the Branch 4 of the appeals Court of Kurdistan and she was instead ordered to pay an approximately $30,000 (3 Million Rial) fine.
UPDATE: (17 March 2009) Hana Abdi has been released from prison after completing her prison sentence.
UPDATE: (9 October 2008) The review of Hana Abdi’s sentence on 7 October 2008 resulted in a reduction of the lower court’s sentence from five years to one and a half years. Her imprisonment in exile sentence was also nullified.
UPDATE: (2 October 2008) Hana Abdi, after being held for two months in the detention center of the Intelligence Ministry of Sanandaj, was transferred to the Central Prison of Sanandaj. The court decided on 26 April 2008 behind closed doors, not permitting her family to attend. Abdi was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment in exile in the town of Garmi in western Azerbaijan on 18 June 2008. She was charged by the Second Branch of the Islamic Court of Sanandaj, presided by Judge Tiari, with “gatherings and conspiracies to endanger national security” based on Article 610 of the Islamic Penal Code. Mohammad Sharif, Abdi’s lawyer, said: “This sentence is based upon information obtained during interrogations by the Intelligence Ministry during Abdi’s solitary confinement. It is the most severe punishment which could have been levied and no notice was given to Abdi’s defense team about its issuance.” Based on the testimony of Abdi’s family, she was tortured while in solitary confinement as well.
Abdi is currently held in Sanandaj’s Central Prison. On 13 August 2008, she was taken to the Fourth Magistrate’s Branch of Sanandaj where she was formally charged with “propaganda against the system,” by communicating with the outside regarding her prison conditions.
Hana Abdi (21) is a student and women’s rights activist in Sanandaj, capital of the western province of Kurdistan. She is a member of Azarmehr Association of Kurdish Women, a local organization. Actively promoting women’s rights, she worked to educate women about their legal rights within the framework of the One Million Signature Campaign and collected signatures in support of its demands. The One Million Signature Campaign is a nationwide effort to remove discrimination against women from Iranian laws. Hana studies psychology at Payam Noor University in Birjand.
On November 4, 2007, intelligence agents arrested Hana in her grandfather’s house and transferred her to the Intelligence Ministry’s detention center. A few hours later, Ministry agents searched her house and confiscated materials relating to One Million Signature Campaign as well as her personal computer and notes. On the day of her arrest, Intelligence Ministry agents told Hana’s family that she would be freed within a few days after they finished questioning her. On November 8, her family went to the Intelligence Ministry headquarters, seeking information about Hana. Ministry’s officials told Hana’s family she would not be released for another month, but failed to inform them of any charges pending or filed against her.
After Hana had been interrogated for nearly three months by Intelligence Ministry agents, on January 25, 2008, Mohammad Sharif, Hana’s lawyer, told the Iranian Student News Agency that she had been transferred to Sanandaj’s Central Prison. The authorities have not provided any information about her case and the charges against her. The authorities have not permitted Hana’s family to visit her.
A month before Hana’s arrest, on October 9, 2008, her friend and women’s rights campaigner Ronak Safazadeh was arrested. Hana and Ronak had celebrated Children’s Day and collected signatures for the One Million Signature Campaign on October 8. The next day, intelligence agents arrested Ronak Safazadeh in her house.