'We Are All Shiva Nazar Ahari, Accuse Us Too'
By Golnaz Esfandiari,
There's growing concern over the fate of jailed human
rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari following recent comments by her lawyer,
Mohammad Sharif. In an
interview he said that she is facing serious charges including
waging war against God (Moharebeh), which carries the death sentence in the
Shiva Nazar Ahari
Nazar Ahari, a member of the Committee of Human Rights
Reporters (CHRR), has been in jail since December 2009. She was also arrested in
June 2009 and released on a $200,000 bail in September.
In a note posted on the
"Kalame" website, Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of opposition
leader Mir Hossein Musavi, has expressed concern over Nazar Ahari's plight:
We are worried for Shiva Nazar Ahari, her trial, and its
result because we are all Shiva Nazar Ahari. We, women, who make up half of
Iran's population, we are all Shiva Nazar Ahari.
Rahnavard, who is a university professor and a sculptor, rejects the charges
Nazar Ahari is facing (including Moharebeh but also propaganda against the
Iranian establishment) and says that she knows her personally from the time she
was banned from classes for her activism.
I know our dear Shiva since the time she preferred human rights over other
rights. She could have become the best student in engineering, instead she
became the best student in the university of justice and freedom.
Rahnavard writes that Nazar Ahari was the first person to make public human
rights abuses at the Kahrizak detention center where at least three detainees
died as a result of torture. Many detainees said they were beaten up and raped.
Shiva is not alone. The idea that brings all
justice-seeking people together -- me, Shiva, Bahareh Hedayat, and Mahdyeh
Golroo [jailed female student activists], Atefeh Nabavi... [It] has connected
us in order to persist and achieve our demands for human rights, freedom,
Bloggers and Nazar Ahari's colleagues and friends have also expressed support
for her by writing about her work. Nazar Ahari's colleague, Sepideh Pouraghayi,
writes that despite threats and pressure
Nazar Ahari never gave up on her activism.
Many of the prisoners and their families were constantly
in touch with Shiva. I saw her many times talking on the phone to prisoners
patiently and writing letters word by word about a prisoner's demands or the
bad conditions in prison.
Here is a link to a
documentary about Shiva Nazar Ahari produced by Mahboubeh
Abbasgholinejad (in Persian).
Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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