Iran: Three Prominent Women Writers Released on Bail

English PEN welcomes the release of prominent women writers and journalists Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Jila Baniyaghoub, but remains seriously concerned that all three are still facing undisclosed charges for organising a demonstration in Tehran on 4 March 2007.

PEN fears that these three journalists have been targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and calls for all charges against them to be dropped.

According to PEN’s information, Baniyaghoub was released on bail on 9 March and Sadr and Abbasgholizadeh on 19 March. They were among 33 women arrested during a demonstration on 4 March in front of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, in protest against against the trial of five members of womens’ organisations who were arrested at previous demonstrations. All except these three writers were released without charge within 48 hours.

The three women drafted a statement calling for the demonstration on 4 March and are therefore faing charges of ‘disturbing public order’. A lawyer for Sadr and Abbasgholizadeh reports that they also face other undisclosed charges.  It is feared that these could include the charge of ‘acting against State security’, which carries a prison sentence of between 2 and 5 years.

Shadi Sadr is a well-known writer, journalist and lawyer who has written many articles and books on women’s rights in Iran and created Zanan-e Iran, the first website devoted to women’s rights issues in the country.

Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh is the editor of the quarterly journal Zanan and has been imprisoned before for posting articles on reformist websites.

Jila Baniyaghoub is a prominent journalist and editor of the Iranian Women’s Society website and the women’s section of the Sarmaye newspaper.

Please send appeals:

  • Welcoming the release on bail of Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Jila Baniyaghoub;

  • Requesting that all charges against them be made public;

  • Expressing your serious concern that they appear to be facing charges solely because they exercised their right to free expression, and calling for charges against them to be dropped, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.


Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei

THe Office of the Supreme Leader

Shoahada Street, Qom

Islamic Republic of Iran

Email: or

Head of the Judiciary

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi

Ministry of Justice

Park-e Shahr, Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Email via judiciary website feedback (

Minister of Intelligence

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie

Ministry of Intelligence

Second Negarestan St

Pasdaran Avenue, Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran


It may be most effective, however, to send the above appeals via the Iranian embassy in London:

His Excellency Mr Rasoul Movahedian

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

16 Prince’s Gate

London SW7 1PT



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