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Petitioning UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Mr. Juan Méndez and 4 others
This petition will be delivered to:
UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Mr. Juan Méndez
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Frank La Rue
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navanethem Pillay
Ambassador and Permanent Representative Permanent Mission of The Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN
Mohammad Khazaee
UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Office of the High Commissioner For Human Rights
Ms. Rashida Manjoo

Free Hengameh Shahidi - journalist, women's rights advocate & mother

Hengameh Shahidi is an Iranian journalist, women's rights defender, political activist and mother.

Hengameh spent several years in the UK, doing post-graduate studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.

At the time of the presidential elections in Iran, in 2009, Hengameh returned to Iran.

She worked as the adviser on women's issues to presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, General Secretary of the National Trust Party (Etemad Melli Party), of which she was a member.

On June 30th, 2009, following the mass post-election protests, Hengameh was arrested.

She was in poor health, with an ongoing heart condition which required regular medication.

Hengameh was initially held in solitary confinement for 50 days, before being transferred to a cell with another woman, and was held for over 4 months without charge.

She says that she was tortured and otherwise ill-treated while in detention.

This includes threats that she would be executed and she was subject to a mock execution.

She also says that her interrogators threatened to arrest other members of her family.

Hengameh went on a hunger strike in protest of her continued detention.

Officials threatened to further punish her if she continued with her hunger strike.

Amnesty International called for her urgent release, as a prisoner of conscience.

On the 1st November, 2009, bail of 900 million rials (over US$90,000) was finally raised and Hengameh was released.

On the 4th November, 2009, Hengameh's trial began.

She was accused of taking part in the post-election demonstrations, supporting a campaign to end executions by stoning in Iran, giving an interview to the media, collecting signatures for the 'One Million Signatures Campaign, signing numerous statements addressed to United Nations human rights bodies about human rights violations in Iran, and publishing articles on her blog.

On 30th November, 2009, Hengameh was sentenced to 6 years and 91 days imprisonement:-

5 years for 'gathering and colluding with intent to harm state security', one year for 'propaganda against the system' and 91 days for 'insulting the President'.

The lawyer lodged an appeal against the conviction and sentence.

24th February, 2010: an Appeal Court ruling was issued, upholding Hengameh's 6 year prison sentence. The Appeal Court overturned her conviction and 91 day sentence for 'insulting the President'.

Hengameh was re-arrested the next day.

September, 2010: Hengameh was banned from making telephone calls.

On the 28th October, 2010, Hengameh was finally released from prison for medical treatment - a series of tests including an angiogram. Reports say that Hengameh received medical treatment for her numerous ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis, heart and digestive disorders.

However, this treatment was not completed and her request to extend the treatment was denied, with no reason given.


On the 15th November, 2010, she was returned to prison against the recommendations of her physicians.

On her return to prison, Hengameh began a hunger strike and her health further deteriorated so she was transferred to Evin prison's infirmary.

She was subsequently transferred back to prison, this time to the Methadone Ward of Evin, where prisoners who are drug addicts are detained and where there is a further ban on telephone calls.

Hengameh was then moved to a cell which she shared with Zahra Bahrami, Dutch Iranian prisoner and mother of two.

Zahra was hanged on 29th January, without warning and without the knowledge of her lawyers.

Read more about Hengameh


Letter to
UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Mr. Juan Méndez
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression  Frank La Rue
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay
and 2 others
Ambassador and Permanent Representative Permanent Mission of The Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN Mohammad Khazaee
UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Office of the High Commissioner For Human Rights Ms. Rashida Manjoo
I am writing to express my utmost concern over the torture and ongoing imprisonment of journalist and women's rights advocate, Hengameh Shahidi, including denial of urgent medical care, and to request that you do all within your power to safeguard Ms Shahidi's life and wellbeing, as a matter of urgency.

Ms Shahidi was arrested on June 30th, 2009, held in solitary confinement for 50 days and held without charge for over 4 months. She suffers an ongoing heart condition which requires regular medication.

You are presumably aware of Amnesty International reports which state that Ms Shahidi claims to have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated while in detention.This includes threats that she would be executed and she was subject to a MOCK EXECUTION. She also says that her interrogators threatened to arrest other members of her family.

Ms Shahidi's only 'crimes' appear to be:
Taking part in the post-election demonstrations, supporting a campaign to end executions by stoning in Iran, giving an interview to the media, collecting signatures for the 'One Million Signatures Campaign, signing numerous statements addressed to United Nations human rights bodies about human rights violations in Iran, and publishing articles on her blog.

She is now serving a 6 year prison sentence, 5 years for 'gathering and colluding with intent to harm state security', one year for 'propaganda against the system'.

On the 28th October, 2010, Ms Shahidi was finally released from prison for medical treatment - a series of tests including an angiogram. Reports say that Ms Shahidi received medical treatment for her numerous ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis, heart and digestive disorders.

However, this treatment was NOT completed and her request to extend the treatment was denied, with no reason given.
On the 15th November, 2010, she was returned to prison AGAINST THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF HER PHYSICIANS.

I understand that, on her return to prison, Ms Shahidi began a hunger strike and her health further deteriorated so she was transferred to Evin prison's infirmary.
However, she was subsequently transferred back to prison, this time to the Methadone Ward of Evin, where prisoners who are drug addicts are detained and where there is a ban on telephone calls and there are reports of attacks by other inmates.

Ms Hengameh's health and life are at seriously at risk.

I implore you to act with the utmost urgency, according to your respective mandates, and do all within your power to ensure that Ms Shahidi is released immediately and unconditionally and receives essential medical treatment. Furthermore, I request that you fully investigate, and report on, Ms Shahidi's extremely substantial allegations of torture, abuse, unjust detention and denial of medical treatment.

With respect,