IRAN: Mourning Mothers human rights leader sentenced to prison without parole
(WNN/Hrana) Tehran, IRAN: Human rights activist and 55-year-old supporter of the Mourning Mothers of Iran, Ms. Mansoureh Behkish, has been sentenced to prison in Iran for 4.5 years without parole. Her sentence, which was made last December 2011, has come through the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran.
The Mourning Mothers of Iran, also known as heroes throughout the region as the ‘Mothers of Laleh Park,’ they work to bring attention to human rights violations that continue to occur inside Iran’s prison and the Ministry of Intelligence police system.
The group has been working together for over 31 years on campaigns to demand justice against what they describe as “those responsible for ordering and carrying out individual and mass executions, ethnic and religious massacres, imprisonments, tortures, rapes and assassinations.” They have also spoken out publicly against the ‘illegal’ raiding and ransacking of homes and the pillaging of student dormitories by persons acting under Iranian government authority as far back as the 1980s.
Made up of older grandmothers as well as younger mothers, the women who have been recognized internationally for their bravery, include many who have personally lost children who were killed, detained or became ‘missing’ during the green democracy movement protests following the June 2009 presidential elections in Iran. The Mothers, who meet regularly in Tehran’s Laleh Park to hold flowers, candles and photos of their missing or dead children, consider themselves to be the mothers of all prisoners-of-conscience in Iran.
A recent report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (Hrana), has outlined that Ms. Mansoureh Behkish was sentenced to 4 of her years in prison under penal code 610 of Iran’s Islamic Criminal Law. The court decision was made in what Iranian authorities have described becasue of actions leading to Mansoureh to “conspire against national security” as she worked as an organizer with meetings for the Mourning Mothers.
Behkish was also sentenced to an additional 6 months in prison under penal code 500 of the Islamic Law, for what has been called instigating “propaganda” against Iran.
Suffering from numerous arrests and imprisonments since January 2010, Behkish has been imprisoned in the notorious Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran before. Compromised by a rare health condition Mansoureh is also suffering from a degenerative form of multiple sclerosis called Schilder’s disease.
The arrest of Mansoureh Behkish was followed by wide spread protests from national and international human rights organizations and some foreign governments and The International Federation of Human Rights organizations in a statement, condemned the security forces and the judiciary for this arrest.
Mansoureh Behkish was among 33 women from the ‘Mourning Mothers’ group arrested during their weekly meeting in Laleh Park, Tehran, on 9 January 2010 and held for several days. On 17 March 2010, she was prevented from travelling to Italy to visit her children and her passport was confiscated. She remains banned from travel abroad.
Mansoureh Behkish has lost six family members in the 80″s mass executions. She is facing this sentence, while being responsible for the care of her mother.
“Mansoureh Behkish was among 33 women from the ‘Mourning Mothers’ group arrested during their weekly meeting in Laleh Park, Tehran, on 9 January 2010 and held for several days. On 17 March 2010, she was prevented from traveling to Italy to visit her children and her passport was confiscated. She remains banned from travel abroad,” said Amnesty International in an ‘Urgent Action’ campaign last June 2011.
In a recent detailed outline provided by Iran’s Mourning Mothers of Laleh Park, a claim that legal Iranian laws have been broken in this case have been specifically made. The broken Iranian laws relating to Mansoureh’s case are:
- Paragraph 1, Section 19 of the International Civic and Political Treaty: Nobody can be abused or harmed for political beliefs;
- Paragraph 2, Section 19 of the International Civic and Political Treaty: Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right includes freedom of research, education and distribution of all information and ideas without any limitation, whether in oral, print, cultural and other forms;
- Section 19 of the International Human Rights Charter: Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and expression.
“Women are treated unequally under Iranian law,” says a 2009 report outlining the human rights situation in Iran by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) and released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
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