Iran: Call for the unconditional release of Mahboobeh Abbasgholizadeh

WLUML is deeply concerned about the arrest of Ms. Mahboobeh Abbasgholizadeh on November 1, 2004 on the orders of Tehran's General Prosecutor, Saeid Mortazavi (who ordered the arrest of the Canadian woman journalist who died in prison).
This seems to be part of an escalating campaign to repress civil society groups and human rights activists in Iran. Even after 10 days of being arrested and held incommunicado, no formal charges have been brought against Mahboobeh, nor has permission been granted to any lawyer or family member to see her.

It seems that Mahboobeh has been arrested and is being interrogated about her presentations at international meetings, including her address to the Asia Pacific Women’s Watch Beijing+10 NGO Forum in July 2004 and her linkages with international women’s rights activists. Mahboobeh, a leading activist in Iran's growing civil society organizations, is the Editor of Farzaneh (the first women’s studies journal in Iran). She is also the Director of the NGO Training Centre that facilitates Iranian NGOs to get registered, builds their capacity to function effectively, and promotes a human rights perspective.

Mahboobeh’s arrest follows a wave of other arrests of web-log writers and closure of on-line journals. Amongst those arrested is another woman journalist, Fereshteh Ghazi, writing on women’s issues for the daily newspaper Etemad. It is very important that Mahboobeh and Iranian groups receive our support.

Mahboobeh is personally known to many of us engaged in the women’s rights movement.

We therefore request you take action urging the Iranian authorities to ensure her safety and immediate and unconditional release.