Fatemeh Masjedi – Maryam Bidgeli

Iranian security forces arrested Fatemeh Masjedi, an Iranian women’s rights activist in Qom.
She was arrested while travelling from Qom to Tehran by unidentified government officials, We-change website reports.

Fatemeh Masjedi was arrested in September 2009 along with Maryam Bidgeli and sentenced to six months in prison by the appeals court last December.

The arrest comes while the judiciary’s Human Rights office has written to the head of Qom’s justice department to review the sentences of the two activists.

The preliminary court had convicted Masjedi and Bidgeli of “propaganda against the regime in support of an anti-government feminist group (One Million Signatures Campaign)” and handed them one year in prison.

The appeals court had dismissed their defence yet reduced their sentence to six months because of no previous convictions.

A statement from women’s rights activists states: “Activity in the One Million Signatures Campaign is not a crime. This is an issue that has been stated over and over again by the Revolutionary Court of the Islamic Republic following the arrest of the Campaign activists. The court did not regard participation in the Campaign as propaganda against the regime. Collecting signatures for the Campaign has been regarded as collecting signatures for any other petition such as one for road repairs. But this particular branch of Qom court has decided to equate the collection of signatures for the Campaign with propagation against the regime.”

The statement calls for the repeal of the sentences against Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Biegeli and expressed grave concern over the sentences issued against the Campaign activists.

Over the five-year activity of the One Million Signatures Campaign to End Discriminatory Laws about 50 campaign activists have been arrested but they have never been convicted for “activity in the Campaign.”