A group of student, women, and human rights activists have formed a campaign in support of student activist Bahareh Hedayat, who is currently serving a nine and a half year prison sentence at Evin Prison. The group is calling on the Iranian government to release her immediately. The individuals who formed campaign have stated that their goal is “to bring the attention of student bodies, world statesmen, and human rights organizations” to the special circumstances of this political prisoner, which according to the campaign, “has been imprisoned because of her courageous criticisms.”
A statement from the founders stated that they will continue their activities until Hedayat has been released from prison. Programs the campaign is considering include writing articles and notes, preparing and sending posters and short videos for her birthday and wedding anniversary, promoting and signing an open letter to ask for her freedom, and a tree planting program inside universities.
In a statement read at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in the presence of the Iranian delegation, the Head of the Human Rights Council, and diplomats from member states, the International Human Rights Campaign in Iran named Bahareh Hedayat, Mansour Osanloo, Emad Baghi, and Nasrin Sotoudeh, as examples of the crackdown on civil society and urged the government of Iran to immediately release the mentioned individuals. The representatives of the Iranian government in the session denied imprisonment of government critics.
Bahareh Hedayat, thirty years old, is a student and women’s rights activist, member of the Central Council and Spokesperson for the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat student union, and an activist with the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Change of Discriminatory Laws Against Women. She was arrested by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence for the fifth time in four years at midnight on 31 December 2009. She was transferred to Evin Prison’s Ward 209. She then received one of the harshest prison sentences among student activists, 9.5 years in prison for civil and peaceful activities in national student organization.
Previously, Hedayat was arrested during a 12 June 2006 gathering and again on 9 July 2007 during a sit-in at Amir Kabir University. She was arrested a third time in the summer of 2008 at her father’s home, and in March 2009 in front of Evin Prison. While Hedayat serves her sentence in Evin Prison, she has been summoned to court and is facing new charges for writing a letter on the occasion of Students Day in 2010 from inside the prison. Hedayat has been refused prison leave since her arrest and has not been allowed weekly visitations or telephone contact for the past three months. This is the third Nowruz (New Year) she has spent in prison. She is serving her sentence inside the Methadone Ward of Evin Prison under difficult circumstances, next to prisoners who have committed drug-related crimes.
This is the Facebook page created for the Campaign for the Release of Bahareh Hedayat.