Iran: Women human rights defender, Shadi Sadr, beaten and arrested

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the violent abduction and detention without charge of human rights lawyer, Ms. Shadi Sadr, by state agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
We call on the Iranian authorities to release Shadi Sadr immediately and unconditionally, 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. We also urge the authorities to ensure that Shadi Sadr and all other detainees are protected from all forms of torture or other ill-treatment.

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.

Security Guards called Ms. Sadr’s family on Sunday 19 July asking them to provide bail. Niachian asked the guards what would be acceptable for bail and they told him to bring ID card and salary documents. However, after waiting outside Evin Prison for five hours, the family returned home without her.

As Iran has committed itself to upholding human rights, evidenced by its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006, a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and claims to be dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, we ask that the Iranian authorities fulfil their obligation and immediately release Ms. Sadr who has been detained without any charge, presumably for her non-violent advocacy for the human rights of women. We respectfully ask that her serious health condition be taken into consideration and that she be given access to medical treatment as a matter of urgency.

An eyewitness account of the abduction is available here:

WLUML networkers