Iran - Government continues to harass cyber-feminists in attempt to silence them



    MONTREAL, Oct. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders urges the
Iranian authorities to stop its harassment of cyber-feminists after two more
were summoned to a Tehran court for questioning about articles posted on
women's rights websites, and online journalist Sussan Tahmasebi was banned
from leaving the country without being given any reason.
    "The way the government hounds these women shows how much it fears their
criticism," Reporters Without Borders said. "These cyber-feminists are just
using their right to free expression in order to condemn the situation of
women. Thanks to their campaigning, a bill that would facilitate polygamy was
challenged at the start of September. This shows the importance of their
work."
    Tahmasebi, who is under police surveillance, went today to the Tehran
revolutionary court in response to a summons for questioning about her
activities. On 26 October, her passport was seized at Imam Khomeini airport in
south Tehran. She was questioned by security agents who confiscated CDs,
books, manuscripts and texts calling for peace in Iran. Her computer was also
inspected.
    In an interview for the online magazine Tagir Bary Barbary ("Change for
Equality" - http://we-change.org/), Tahmasebi said: "This is the fourth time I
have been prevented from leaving the country on various pretexts. Despite my
insistence, no one explained the reason for the decision or said why I had
been summoned to the revolutionary court."
    On leaving the court today, she told Reporters Without Borders: "This
harassment is being done with the aim of making us shut up. Nonetheless, we
will not stop demanding equality. Women now have an important place in Iranian
society and the authorities will be forced to listen to us."
    One of the promoters of the campaign for "One Million Signatures
Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws" that was launched online in 2005,
Tahmasebi edits the English-language version of the Tagir Bary Barbary
website. The police searched her home on 2 May.
    The two other cyber-feminists to be summoned to the Tehran revolutionary
court to explain what they have been posting online were Nahid Keshavarz and
Mahboubeh Hosseinzadeh, who write for Tagir Bary Barbary and Zanestan
("Women's City" - http://herlandmag.net/). They were told to report back for a
hearing on 27 January.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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