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17 July 2009


A lawyer and prominent women's rights activist working with the One Million Signatures Campaign


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Shadi Sadr


beaten, arrested and disappeared.


UPDATE : IDHAE wishes to inform you about the release of  Shadi Sadr on July 28, 2009.


Source :   Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace





Around 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 17th Shadi Sadr, a lawyer and prominent women's rights activist working with the One Million Signatures Campaign, was arrested  by plain clothes security officers and taken to an undisclosed location. The men pulled her into a car as she walked along a busy road, and beat her as she struggled to escape.

Shadi Sadr was arrested in an entirely illegal manner on Keshavarz Blvd when she was en route with her friends to attend the Friday Prayers. One of Shadi’s friends has provided an account of what took place, stating:

We were heading towards Keshavarz Blvd, not even reaching the middle of the boulevard, when someone approached me and said, “You’re coming with me. The others go.” Shadi and I were looking at him with surprise, and one of the motorists said to him, “Not that one, this one.” They were dressed in civilian clothes (probably security forces) and went towards Shadi. Shadi was shaken up and taken by surprise. Suddenly she was then taken away and kept in a Peugeot car. Me and a friend started to yell, “Where are you taking her?!!” That’s also when Shadi tried to struggle and started to cry for help, pounding the car door. My friend then tried to open the door, and we were pulling Shadi out but an official who was inside the car was grabbing onto her. He was pulling onto her in such a way that her manteau (overcoat) was coming off but one of my friends still held onto Shadi’s hand and her blouse and pants that were once intact started to come off when caught in the car. At that time she escaped. The officials in civilian clothing and also me and my friend were running after her. It was then one of the officials from the opposite side attacked her and was pulling onto her scarf. Shadi was resisting his force when the scarf came undone. Shadi again escaped. This time two other people appeared unexpectedly, one of them carrying a spiral baton. They took Shadi and beat her violently while she continued to resist them. We weren’t allowed to go towards her. By force they had taken her and put her in the car. The official manhandled Shadi and it was apparent that for them, her hejab wasn’t even important!! When they brought her to the car, they didn’t even give her the scarf back. The car turned around and sped away. It’s true that no one, other than me and my friend did anything. Maybe if we were more in number, we wouldn’t have let them take her.

Shadi wanted to give her bag to us when the motorist shouted from afar “Keep hold of her bag!” Everyone became shocked that they couldn’t react. We have never seen an official order or identification from these paramilitary forces and we have no idea who they are.

 Shadi Sadr, lawyer and journalist, was the director of Raahi, a legal advice centre for women until it was closed down. She founded Zanan-e Iran (Women of Iran), the first website dedicated to the work of Iranian women's rights activists  and has written extensively about Iranian women and their legal rights. She has represented activists and journalists, several women sentenced to execution, whose convictions were subsequently overturned.  She is also involved in Women's Field (, a group of women's rights activists who have launched several campaigns to defend women's rights, including the "Stop Stoning Forever" Campaign.

Background :

Shadi Sadr was among 33 women arrested in March 2007.  Most had gathered outside a Tehran courtroom to protest peacefully against the trial of five women – Fariba Davoudi Mohajer, Shahla Entesari, Noushin Ahmadi Khorassani, Parvin Ardalan and Sussan Tahmasebi – who were accused of “propaganda against the system”, “acting against national security” and “participating in an illegal

demonstration” in connection with the 12 June 2006 demonstration. Four of those on trial were also among those arrested, along with Shadi Sadr, a lawyer. Initially held in the Vozara detention centre, some were later transferred to Evin Prison. Most were released after several days, but Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh – who is also involved in the "Stop Stoning Forever" Campaign – were held for over two weeks before being released on bail.

 At a Revolutionary Court session in August 2007, which their lawyer was not allowed to attend and during  which they were also questioned about their NGOs and their activities in the “Stop Stoning

Forever”campaign, they were charged with illegal assembly, collusion against national security, disruption of public order and refusal to obey the orders of the police.

The recent political protests have brought on increased persecution of women's rights activists, who have been regularly arrested and harassed since 2006 for peacefully advocating for their equal rights before the law. They have faced charges such as "acting against the national security of the state," "propaganda against the state," and "disrupting public opinion" and, most recently, for membership in the One Million Signatures campaign itself. Many are serving suspended sentences, and face regular harassment and persecution by the government.

Call upon all human rights activists and organizations to speak out in defense of Shadi Sadr and all those who are being unjustly persecuted.



[Your name here]


Your Excellency,


I am deeply concerned following reports that human rights lawyer Mrs  Shadi Sadr, was arrested on Friday 17 July 2009, at around 11:30 a.m.

Our colleague Shadi Sadr was abducted by a group of officers in civilian clothes while she was walking on Keshavarz Boulevard, Tehran, to a mosque for Friday prayers. According to an eye-witness account, her friends tried to pull her away from her abductors but were unable to do so; Ms. Sadr was "hit badly and dragged so badly that her scarf and manteau (overcoat) was removed from her".

She was then forced into a car and taken away. Her abductors did not show any identity cards, warrants, or a reason for her apprehension. This abduction was a targeted act, unlike other arrests of peaceful women human rights defenders in Iran such as at demonstrations.

Ms. Sadr is a human rights lawyer who especially defends the rights of women in Iran. She is also a Council member of WLUML, as well as part of the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign and Meydaan.

Ms. Sadr’s spouse Mr. Hossein Niachian sent word that an hour before her detention, officers had presented themselves at their house, introduced themselves as security forces, then searched their home, taking away some papers, documents, and two computer cases that had belonged to him and their ten-year-old daughter. The inspection took several hours, as they ransacked the house in the presence of the child.

Niachian said that Shadi suffers from a serious glandular and bone illness which leaves her in intense and debilitating pain and for which she requires specific medication. She was booked in for surgery for the condition this week. We are especially concerned for her health and well-being, and that she is receiving access to her prescribed medications.


I believe that the arrests of Abdolfattah Soltani, Alireza Tajik and Kayvan Samimi are directly related to their legitimate work in defence of human rights.

I urge the Iranian authorities to:

1.Immediately and unconditionally release Mrs Shadi Sadr  , as she is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for her human rights activities and the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression.

2. ensure that Shadi Sadr and all other detainees are protected from all forms of torture or other ill-treatment.

3.Refrain from arresting or detaining human rights defenders solely for conducting their legitimate work in defence of human rights or for expressing their opinions on related issues;

4.Ensure that the treatment of Abdolfattah Soltani, Alireza Tajik and Kayvan Samimi, while in detention, adheres to all those conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

5.Guarantee in all circumstances that 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.


Yours sincerely,







Please write to the Iranian authorities and ask them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Shadi Sadr and all those who are being unjustly persecuted defenders in Iran;
  2. Release Shadi Sadr immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;
  3. Put an end to acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in Iran;
  4. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, its article 5(c), which reads that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, [...] to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations”, and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;
  5. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Iran.


  • Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98 21 649 5880 / 21 774 2228, Email: / /
  • President Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 649 5880. Email:
  • Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98 21 879 6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567, Email:
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Manouchehr Mottaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 390 1999, Email:
  • Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email:




The Honorable Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General
760 United Nations Plaza
United Nations
New York, NY 10017
Web contact:

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: +41-22-917-90-00
Fax: +41-22-917-9008 or +1-212-963-4097







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