The woman rights activist, Parvin Ardalan, Receives 2 Years Suspended prison Sentence

May 3, 2008, 9:49 a.m.

Iran Human Rights, May 2: According to the website "Change for equality" the 13th branch of the Revolutionary Courts has issued a sentence of 2 years suspended prison, for the women rights activist Parvin Ardalan. If Ardalan is found guilty of another crime during these three years, this suspended sentence will be implemented.

The Court found Ardalan guilty on the charges of "illegal gathering and collusion and refusal to obey the orders of the police with the intent of endangering national security."

Parvin Ardalan appeared in court on March 4th, where she along with 4 other women’s rights activists were on trial for organizing a protest in Hafte Tir Square on June 12th, objecting to legal discrimination against women. Ardalan, along with the others on trial in the 6th branch of the Revolutionary courts, exited the courthouse, when police began to beat and arrest their friends who had gathered peacefully in front of the courthouse in a show of solidarity with those on trial. Ardalan was arrested along with 32 other women’s rights activists that day, including the other women on trial.

Leila Ali Karami the lawyer representing Ardalan, will appeal this court ruling. Others who have received a sentence in this case include, Rezvan Moghaddam, Nahid Jafari, Minou Mortazi, all of whom were sentenced by the 13th branch of the Revolutionary Courts to 6 months suspended prison and 10 suspended lashings, as well as Zeinab Payghambarzadeh, who was sentenced by the 16th branch of the Revolutionary Courts to 2 years suspended prison sentence. At least 12 others in the same case have been acquitted on the same charges.

In an interview with Change for Equality, Parvin Ardalan explained how she was informed about her sentence, as follows: "I had gone to the Revolutionary Courts, Branch 13th, to follow up on the travel ban imposed on me. The travel ban was imposed in relation to another case, where I am charged with "propaganda against the state" in connection with my activities and writings on the site of Change for Equality and Zanestan (the webzine of the Women’s Cultural Center).

She added: "In actuality, this travel ban is part of a long running policy designed to prevent the travel of women’s rights activists in an effort to isolate them from the international community".