Monday, 30 August 2010

Maryam Bidgoli and Fatemeh Masjedi

Sentenced to 1 Year Mandatory Prison

for Activities in the 1 Million Signatures Campaign

Change for Equality: Maryam Bidgoli and Fatemeh Masjedi, Campaign and women’s rights activists in Qom, have been sentenced to a one year mandatory prison sentence by the Second Branch of the Revolutionary Courts in the city of Qom.

According to the verdict issued by Judge Mousavi, these two activists were found guilty on the charge of “spreading propaganda against the state, through collection of signatures for changing discriminatory laws and publication of materials in support of a feminist group (Campaign) which works in opposition to the Regime.”

In court, Fatemeh Masjedi denied the charges brought against her and explained that the One Million Signatures Campaign is an independent social movement and that her activities were in line with the law and that she is only seeking to change law, an act allowable through dynamic jurisprudence.

Maryam Bidgoli too denied the charges pending against her, and explained that she worked on a volunteer basis in the Campaign which seeks to collect signatures for a petition directed at lawmakers. She also explained that no other court had found the Campaign and the activities within it to constitute a violation of the law.

To date, all the activists in the Campaign who have been summoned or arrested on the charge of spreading of propaganda against the state, have been acquitted of the charges brought against them either in their initial court hearings or in appeal.

Mina Jafari and Mahnaz Parakand the lawyers representing these two women’s rights defenders have drafted their objection to the court ruling and will be requesting an appeal within the timeframe allowed by the courts.

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