Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian journalist and prominent human rights activist, was arrested on June 10th by Intelligence Ministry Officials at her home in Tehran. Mohammadi, one of the leaders of the Million Signatures Campaign and a vice president of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, the organization founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, has been interrogated and arrested by the Iranian government for her political activism several times before. Her husband and two young sons are currently unaware of why she was arrested or where she is being held.
According to a press release from the Alexander Langer Foundation, a pro-peace and coexistence organization that honored Mohammadi with the international Alexander Langer award in 2009, Mohammadi first became involved with political activism when she was studying physics at the International Imam Khomeini University. Since that time she has contributed to various reformist journals, written political essays, and become an influential champion of human rights. In 2008, Mohammadi was elected the president of the executive committee of the National Council of Peace in Iran, a broad coalition against war and for the promotion of human rights. Mohammadi's husband, Taghi Rahmani, has also been arrested several times for his criticism of the Iranian government and has spent a total of 16 years in prison, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Women are a major force in Iranian political activism. Women have especially found a voice in the Green Movement, a group that demands the removal of President Ahmadinejad from office. Last week in the Progressive, Shirin Ebadi wrote, "with women's rights activists at the helm, the Green Movement consistently demands democracy and human rights in Iran." Subsequently, the Iranian government has cracked down on women's rights activists and many have been arrested.In January, at least 33 women were arrested at a peaceful protest in Tehran.
In December, Ministry of Intelligence Agents arrested Ebadi's sister; a professor in dentistry, Noushin Ebadi; Mansoureh Shojaee, a founder of the One Million Signatures campaign for women's equality in Iran; and Morteza Kazemian, a journalist. Somayeh Rashidi, also with the One Million Signatures Campaign, was also targeted with a search of her home and a summons to court. Earlier this year, Shirin Ebadi's husband, Javad Tavasolian, was arrested for three days and forced to videotape a "confession" making derogatory comments about Ebadi and her work for human rights. His passport was confiscated and the couple's assets, bank accounts, and pensions were frozen by the government.The Feminist Majority Foundation, a longtime supporter of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Shirin Ebadi, and women's rights in Iran, has started a petition calling for the release of Mohammadi and other imprisoned Iranian activists. Sign the petition here.