By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
The Mothers of Laleh Park (previously known as the Mourning Mothers of Iran) -- a group of women whose children were killed or detained during Iran’s 2009 postelection crackdown -- have issued the names of seven members or supporters who have in recent months been sentenced to prison over their activism.
Two of them are currently serving jail terms.
The group has come under pressure by the authorities over its silent public protests in Tehran’s Laleh Park and other locations and for bringing attention to the plight of political prisoners.
In a statement, the group says that while those behind the torture and the killing of activists are free to continue their crimes, women and mothers who have refused to be silent while fighting for their basic rights and defending the rights of their children are being repeatedly harassed and threatened.
Activist Kouhyar Goudarzi
The statement adds that the mothers and their supporters are being put on trial and convicted on “baseless” charges, including acting against national security.
"Persian Letters" reported last week on the jail sentence handed down to Parvin Mokhtare, the mother of human rights activist Kouhyar Goudarzi. Both mother and son have been in prison for the past five months.
The Mothers of Laleh Park reports that Jila Mahdavian, the mother of another young man who was arrested in 2009, has been sentenced to five years in prison, including a two-year suspended sentence.
Poet Jila Karamzadeh, who wrote a poem for the group, has been sentenced to four years in prison, two of which are suspended, according to the statement.
Mansoureh Behkish, Fatemeh Alvandi, and Nader Ahsani are the other members and supporters of the group who have been either, harassed, detained, or sentenced to jail.
In addition, a number of other relatives and mothers of prisoners of conscience have been interrogated, threatened, and detained, according to the statement.
“Which of our demands and actions have been illegal and threatened Iran’s national security?" the mothers ask in their statement. “[Iran’s rulers] consider national security the security of torturers, murderers, and thugs. Therefore, they have been terrorized by the actions of the mothers harassing and persecuting them in different ways.”
The Mothers of Laleh Park say they will stand by their call for the release of all political prisoners, the abolition of the death sentence, and putting on trial those who ordered the killings of intellectuals and prisoners of conscience in the past 30 years.
Copyright (c) 2012 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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