The accusation on the basis of which the sentences are based is: "conspiracy and gathering with intent to violate the security of the realm." Parvin Ardalan and Nooshin Ahmadi Khorasani have for years been writing and acting in defence of equal rights for women. They are among the initiators of "change for equality" that led to the "Campaign for One Million Signatures Against Discriminatory Laws." This widely popular movement, by referring to international human rights and anti-discriminatory conventions to which Iran is a signatory, asks for the annullment of all discriminatory laws that regard a woman as half a person. The persecution and imprisonment of the activists of this movement has no purpose other than to force this demand for justice into silence.

We would like to point out that over the last few days the Islamic Revolutionary court has issued suspended and unconditional prison sentences also for Azadeh Forghani, SusanTahmasebi,and Fariba Davoodi Mohajer because of their activities related to women's rights. We should undoubtedly expect similar sentences for other charged activists of the women's movement.

At the moment, by attacking the "badly veiled," i.e. women who through the way they dress challenge the ideological model of the Islamic government, the Iranian government is trying to impose an atmosphere of intimidation. Along with suppressing the student movement and the union activities of the workers and teachers, it is constantly and persistently targeting the feminist movement. Issuing prison sentences for these women whose only crime is defending the rights of women is an indication of the determination of the Iranian power structure to silence the voice of women.

The fate that the power holders have in store for these women is a reminder of the fact that demanding women’s rights lies at the centre of the struggle for freedom and social justice. This makes silence in the face of these sentences unpardonable.

We, the undersigned, call on all democratically minded people and all supporters of human rights and the liberation of women to protest these sentences. We turn to international bodies to demand the annulment of these prison sentences and to demand guarantees for the security and freedom for all activists of the feminist movement in Iran.