Middle East

Update: Iran: Release of Shiva Nazar Ahari

Shiva Nazar Ahari released


The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women (SKSW campaign) welcome the news that Shiva Nazar Ahari was released from prison on Sunday 12 September 2010. 


However, though she is free now, her sentence will be given in approximately two weeks’ time.  One of the charges against Ms. Nazar Ahari is moharebeh (enmity with God), which can be punishable by death in Iran. We therefore urge you to write to the Iranian officials and the embassy of Iran in your country to welcome the release of Ms. Nazar Ahari and to urge all charges against her in connection with her peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association to be dropped.


A sample letter is attached.

IRAN: Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh sentenced to 2 ½ years in jail and 30 lashes for 'acts against national security'

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women (SKSW) are deeply concerned by the sentencing meted out to our colleague and friend, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, in May by the Iranian Revolutionary Court for exercising her constitutional right to peaceful assembly.

IRAN: Imprisoned activist Shiva Nazar Ahari to go on trial for 'acts against national security'

In March 2010, Women’s human rights defender and WLUML council member, Shadi Sadr, took the extraordinary step of to Shiva Nazar Ahari, a young human rights activist and a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), currently imprisoned in Iran for ‘acts against national security’.

Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Commission Speaks Against Marriage of Minors

Publication Date: 
October 8, 2010
Saudi Gazette

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called upon individuals, civil groups and the media to stand against the marriage of minors, describing the marriage of young girls to older males as a “violation of children’s rights found in the Convention on the Rights of the Child of which the Kingdom is a signatory”.

The government-affiliated HRC said in a press statement Wednesday that it was in the process of drawing up a legal framework to protect against the abuse of underage girls’ rights.

Turkmenistan: Women banned from studying theology

Publication Date: 
September 24, 2010
Forum 18


Women are banned from studying theology in Turkmenistan - including Islamic theology, the only permitted religious university subject – an official has told Forum 18 News Service. "Only men are accepted for this course," the State University official – who did not give her name or role – told Forum 18. "Women can't study there." She declined to say why this discrimination against women has been imposed. This is the only university-level institution in Turkmenistan where the government allows any religious faith to be studied, and only Islam is permitted to be studied. It is also the only institution where the government allows young men who want to become imams to be trained. Potential imams are not allowed to study abroad, and only a small number of men (some of whom do not wish to become imams) are allowed to academically study any religious topic. Only the Russian Orthodox Church is permitted to send male and female students abroad for their studies, and the possibilities for all other formal and informal (such as Sunday School) religious education and instruction are extremely severely restricted.

Looser Rein, Uncertain Gain: A Human Rights Assessment of Five Years of King Abdullah’s Reforms in Saudi Arabia

Publication Date: 
September, 2010
Looser Reign, Uncertain Gain: A Human Rights Assessment of Five Years of King Abdullah’s Reforms in Saudi Arabia


This 52-page report assesses five years of Saudi reforms under King Abdullah from a human rights perspective. It finds that reform has manifested itself chiefly in greater tolerance for diverse opinions and an expanded public role for women, but that royal initiatives have been largely symbolic, with only modest concrete gains or institutional protection for rights.<--break->

Human Rights Crisis in Iran Press Conference

Publication Date: 
September, 2010


On Friday, September 17, 2010, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, in partnership with Human Rights Watch and the Nobel Women's Initiative, held a panel discussion in New York on the human rights crisis in Iran. Panelists included Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire, Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch Faraz Sanei, and Campaign Director Hadi Ghaemi.

Shiva Nazar Ahari Iranian human rights defender released

Publication Date: 
September 12, 2010
Shiva Nazar Ahari


Shiva Nazar Ahari, a 26 year old notable Iranian human rights defender, was released today after an ongoing international campaign on Islamic regime

Shiva nazar ahari former speaker of the student committee for the defense of political prisoners in Iran and current speaker of the committee for human rights reporters in Iran, had been arrested in Desember 2009 on her way to Qom city in Iran. 

Campaigning must continue to end stoning

Publication Date: 
August 13, 2010
The Australian


SAKINEH Mohammadi Ashtiani could be stoned to death or hanged in Iran within days.

Facing arrest, her lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, fled to Norway via Turkey, where he was briefly detained. His wife and two relatives were held hostage in Tehran's Evin prison. They have since been released on bail. Non-government organisations campaigned forcefully on their behalf. However, few Muslim or non-Muslim leaders have spoken out against the criminalisation of adultery and its punishment by stoning.

Dr Mohammad Javad Larijani, Secretary General of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, believes the ancient custom, revived after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, is consistent with Islam. Article 104 of the Iranian Penal Code states: "The stones should not be too large so that the person dies on being hit by one or two of them; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones." Members of the community, often family and in-laws of the accused, carry out the deed. According to Larijani, international protests are part of a destabilising political campaign orchestrated by Western nations, an argument the UN appears to accept without dispute.

Iran: Shiva Nazar Ahari's will face 3 charges on 4 September

Publication Date: 
September 3, 2010


Writing about Shiva Nazar Ahari is more than writing about a human rights activist and fighter. It’s writing about those who take up the mantle of struggle to fight for establishing and consolidating their countrymen’s basic rights, without having a political agenda.  Some bear prison and torture, others exile and refuge camps.  Still, Shiva Nazar Ahari’s case is a dangerous one and the silence of the media about her is reprehensible, especially as her lawyer says Shiva’s trial date is set for September 4, for charges of moharebeh, war on god, which is punishable by execution.

On the latest developments in her case, her lawyer says: “One of Shiva Nazar Ahari’s three charges is moharebeh.  I’m wondering how to defend her in court on that one! In a conversation with my colleagues, I told them that if a few more charges like this are issued [for my clients], I’ll withdraw from all of my cases. Shiva Nazar Ahari’s trial will be held on Sept. 4, and I really have no idea what will happen –what verdict will be issued, based on what line of reasoning. If they are going to sentence her using the same logic with which they charged her, her situation may be dangerous. This is a charge that receives the death penalty.”