Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jelveh Javaheri’s Letter of Complaint to the Head of the Judiciary: Put an End to My Illegal Detentio

Change for Equality:
Following her illegal arrest in the early hours of the morning on 2nd May and her continuing detention, Jelveh Javaheri sent a letter of complaint to the head of the judiciary requesting an end to her illegal detention and a clarification of her situation. In a similar move, Kaveh Mozaffari also handed a letter of protest to prison officials and requested to know the details of both his and his spouse’s cases.
Jelveh Javaheri wrote her letter on 24th May, but because she was due to receive a visit in the general women’s ward of the prison, she, along with Alieh Eghdamdoost, who had been condemned to prison on account of her participation in the women’s gathering of 12th June 2006, was transferred to section 209 of Evin Prison. Today (25th May) she was told that because the prison officers responsible for the security prisoners differ from the other officers, and because the officer in charge was not at the prison, she could instead give her letter to her family on visiting day so that they themselves could follow up the matter. Jelveh’s mother comments that visiting days are Tuesdays, but that they had been told that there would be no visit on Tuesday. As a result Jelveh read out her letter over the telephone to her mother who handed the letter herself to the office of Ayatollah Hashemi-Shahroudi.
Jelveh in her letter to Ayatollah Shahroudi, head of the judiciary, wrote the following:
I, Jelveh Javehri, child of Manouchehr Bamdad, was arrested and detained in an inappropriate manner without a warrant on 2nd May and am currently still in detention. At the present time I am still uninformed of the charge against me. In the middle of the night on 1st May while I was returning home I became aware of the presence of security officers entering the house while accompanying my husband, Kaveh Mozaffari, who had been arrested on the afternoon of the same day in Laleh Park.
My husband objected to the security officers searching the house without a search warrant, and reminded them that their actions were illegal. As for myself, when I asked the officers the reason for their presence, they told me that it had nothing to do with me, yet as they were searching the house they took away my personal effects along with those of my spouse. At this point I objected to them that if they considered themselves within their rights to confiscate my husband’s effects even though they were not in possession of an arrest warrant, what basis did they have to take my effects as well? They replied that I had no right to object and that they themselves determine within what parameters they may operate.
Having searched the house, the officers asked me that I accompany them for questioning, but I reminded them that according to the law, for them to interrogate me, I must be sent a written summons by a court. In response to my objections, they dragged me from the house roughly and violently, citing the necessity to obey the laws of the land, and took me to the Vozara Detention Center.
At around three in the morning on 2nd May I was taken into custody at the Vozara Detention Center, even though no arrest warrant had been issued for me. On the afternoon of the same day, along with sixteen other arrested women, I was sent to Evin Prison. I and these sixteen others were kept in solitary confinement in section 305 of Evin, before being transferred on 17th May to Women’s General Ward Two.
During this entire time I was not made aware of the charge against me. During this entire time I protested against the illegal manner in which I had been detained and interrogated, and many times I reminded officials that without them informing me of the charge against me, my continued detention and interrogation was illegal. Interrogators from the intelligence services also indicated that they were unaware of the reason for my arrest, and promised that they would follow the matter up, but during this time no answer was forthcoming and for this reason my situation is still unclear.
I was last interrogated on 14th May and on this date I was informed that my detention had come to an end and that they were sending my dossier to the courts, but my situation continues to be unclear.
According to the rights granted to citizens and to the accused, the charge must be communicated to the accused with all due speed. After the communication of the charge, a guarantee may be taken from the accused, a guarantee which is based on the type of crime, the types of proof involved, the consequences of the crime, the character of the accused, and so on. In the most severe cases, the heaviest guarantee that can be sought is temporary detention, while in the least important cases the lightest guarantee is that the accused present herself before a judge. In this case, how is it that the heaviest guarantee has been sought from me, namely detention, even though the charge has not been communicated to me?
I hereby request that my illegal detention be terminated and that my situation be clarified,
Jelveh Javaheri
24th May 2009



Tel.: (949) 466-0142




Southern California activists celebrate June 12, the Iranian Women's Solidarity Day

June 12th is the fourth anniversary of the historic gathering in 2005 near Tehran University organized by Iranian women demanding gender equality in the legal system. This peaceful demonstration was attended by more than six thousand women and men, and was supported by over ninety groups and NGOs in Iran with a broad range of concerns from women's rights to the environment and education. The following year, on June 12th 2006, a similar gathering for gender equality organized in 7th Tir square in Tehran was met with a harsh police reaction and the arrest of seventy participants. Undeterred by the backlash, this gathering grew over the following months into an extensive grassroots movement called the One Million Signatures Campaign, which has spread to most cities and provinces in Iran. Today, it is a worldwide movement, with branches in thirteen countries, and has received widespread acknowledgement and support. So far in 2009 the Campaign has been awarded prizes for its work by the Simone de Beauvoir Foundation in France and the Feminist Majority Foundation in the USA.

June 12th 2009 is of special significance as it coincides with the first round of voting in the Iranian presidential elections. Activists from the Campaign are among the members of different women’s movement groups that have come together in an election coalition, not supporting any one candidate but demanding that all candidates pledge to tackle a number of specific issues relating to women. A first fruit of this coalition has been the promise by one candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, to seek an official explanation for the rejection of all female presidential candidates by the Guardians Council, the body entrusted with the vetting of candidates.

The One Million Signatures Campaign raises awareness by public dissemination of information about discriminatory laws, and seeks to promote social justice through a petition that calls for legal reform. Based entirely on volunteer labor, the movement has no political agenda and instead presents information about the Iranian legal system in a non-ideological manner. People around the world can join in peaceful protest against discrimination by signing the Campaign's petition in support of the Iranians' demand for legal gender equality. Forms of support can include printing the petition from the campaign website, circulating it and sending it in, and talking about the campaign with family and friends.

The Campaign is well represented in areas with large Iranian immigrant populations, including Southern California, which is home to the largest number of Iranians outside Iran. The local chapter of the Campaign comprises Iranian-American graduate students and professionals, who not only promote awareness of the campaign's efforts but also aim to protect activists within Iran by calling attention to an ongoing crackdown on peaceful and law-abiding Campaign volunteers on the part of the Iranian authorities.


For more information about this press release, or to schedule an interview with a local campaign organizer, please call Peyman Malaz (949) 466-0142 or email