Iran, 6 July 2011: Human rights defender Ms Mahnaz Mohammadi arrested and held in incommunicado detention
Human rights defender and filmmaker, Ms Mahnaz Mohammadi was arrested at her home in Tehran, on 26 June 2011, by agents believed to from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Ms Mohammadi, who is currently being held at Evin Prison, Tehran, has been denied access to her family and a lawyer since her arrest. Ms Mohammadi is a prominent human rights defender and filmmaker who uses film as a tool to advocate for greater respect for women's rights in Iran.
On 26 June 2011, Ms Mohammadi was arrested at her home in Tehran by agents alleged to be from the Revolutionary Guard, and taken to Evin Prison where she is currently being held incommunicado. It is reported that Ms. Mohammadi has been denied access to both her family and her lawyer. To date, it has not been possible to establish whether charges have been brought against Ms Mohammadi.
It is reported that in recent months Ms Mohammadi had been under surveillance by Government security agents.
In May 2011, a travel ban was imposed on Ms Mohammadi and her passport was confiscated, in order to prevent her from travelling to the Cannes Film Festival where Marriage Ephemeral, a film in which she is the principle actor was screened. Ms Mohammadi sent a message to the organisers of the Cannes Film Festival following the imposition of the travel ban stating that “I am a woman, I am a filmmaker, two sufficient reasons to be guility in this country”.
In early 2011, Ms Mohammadi's home was raided by Iranian security agents who allegedly confiscated her computer and her camera.
In August 2009, Ms. Mohammadi was arrested and detained while laying a wreath of flowers at the grave of Ms Neda Agha-Soltan, an activist who was shot and killed by snipers as she took part in an anti-government demonstration in Tehran.
In March 2007, Ms Mohammadi was arrested while she took part in a demonstration outside a court house in Tehran where the trial of a number of other women human rights defenders was taking place.
The arrest and detention of Ms Mohammadi forms part of an on-going campaign against women human rights defenders in Iran. In recent weeks, Front Line has issued a number of urgent appeals detailing the arbitrary arrest and detention of a number of women human rights defenders including Ms Maryam Bahreman, Ms Mansoura Behnish, and Ms Mahboubeh Karami, all of whom are currently being detained at Evin Prison, Iran.
Front Line is deeply concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of human rights defender Ms Mohammadi, considering that she was arbitrarily arrested and is currently being detained incommunicado without access to her family or a lawyer. Concern is also expressed that Ms Mohammadi was prohibited from travelling to the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011. Furthermore, Front Line is concerned about allegations that Ms Mohammadi is under surveillance by members of the security forces, who reportedly raided her home and confiscated some of her personal belongings. It is believed that Ms Mohammadi's arrest is directly linked to her work in the defence of human rights, in particular, women's rights in Iran.
Moreover, Front Line is deeply concerned about the general situation with regard to women human rights defenders in Iran particularly considering the wave of arrests of such defenders over recent months. Front Line believes that the aforementioned human rights defenders have been arrested and are being detained solely as a result of their legitimate work in the defence of human rights.
Front Line urges the authorities in Iran to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Ms Mohammadi as Front Line believes that her arrest and detention is related to her peaceful and legitimate human rights work and her portrayal of the situation of women in Iran through film;
- Allow Ms Mohammad immediate and unfettered access to her family and a lawyer:
- Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Ms Mohammadi, ensuring that she is not subjected to torture or ill-treatment;
- Immediately lift all restrictions imposed on Ms Mohammadi including returning her passport and allowing her to travel freely;
- Stop the ongoing attack on women human rights defenders in Iran, and guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Iran are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
Source: Front Line http://frontlinedefenders.org/node/15492