Free Navid Mohebbi, 18-year-old women's rights defender & blogger
Navid Mohebbi, at age 18, is the youngest blogger in the world to be incarcerated.
Navid was first arrested in 2008 after attempting to organize events for International Women's Day, in Iran.
After two years of pressure and repeated summons, he was arrested again on September 18, 2010. Reports say that eight security officials raided his father's home and beat Navid during the arrest.
On November 14, Navid Mohebbi was charged with membership of the One Million Signatures Campaign, and support for the One Million Signatures Campaign, which advocates for freedom and equality for women. He was also charged with acting against national security, propaganda against the state through connection with foreign media, insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini), insulting the current leader (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei).
Prior to the trial, Navid was held in solitary confinement for over a month. Prison officials told his family that he would not be released from solitary until he "showed remorse" for his actions.
He was held without charge for nearly two months until November 14, when he was brought before a revolutionary tribunal. The likelihood of Navid receiving a fair trial in such a setting is miniscule.
He was not permitted the counsel of his lawyer, Mina Jafari, although legal representation is guaranteed under international laws to which Iran is a signatory.
In addition to being denied legal representation, Navid is being held incommunicado in prison with ordinary prisoners, some of whom may be physically violent or otherwise dangerous.
He currently shares his small cell with a convicted murderer. The prison is over capacity, sanitation and health services are lacking and the food's quality is terrible. It is common for prisoners held in these conditions to fall ill and just as common for prison officials to deny them the necessary medical treatment.
Navid has not been permitted to have visits from his family or Ms. Jafari. His family is under pressure not to contact media or publicize his case.
Navid's youth and activism for women make him a target and someone to be made example of by the Iranian regime, which fears both.
A bright and hard-working student, Navid was accepted into Tehran's Azad University to study Political Science. Humanities and social science programs have come under attack by Iranian authorities, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Many political prisoners, human and women's rights activists, human rights lawyers and activist students, in Iran, are charged with variations of charges of propaganda and threatening national security. These charges are the foundation for lengthy prison sentences.
The underlying cause for Navid's charges is that he has been an ardent supporter of the One Million Signatures Campaign. Started in 2006, the campaign advocates freedom and equality for women. Although the organizers adhere to Iranian and Islamic laws, they have been targets of further oppression by the authorities.
Navid is the youngest known member or supporter of the One Million Signatures Campaign to be arrested.
Navid's dream, written for International Women's Day, 2010:
"On this day, I am hoping for a world without violence and humiliation, and joy for the thousands of women in Darfur, Sudan who are suffering from homelessness and gang rapes, thousands of young girls in North Africa and other developing region who have to run away from home because their families won't accept them if they fall in love with someone and will stone them to death, for the thousands of young girls who are forcefully circumcised and their organs are mutilated, for the millions of women all around the world who face domestic violence, women whose lives and whose children's lives are endangered because of the lack of basic health care, for the millions of women who are forced into prostitution by poverty, for the suffering women who don't even have access to the most basic right of education and women who are lashed for wearing pants in Somalia.
I also want for them to live without violence, discrimination, inequality and for them to have a better financial life as well as to have access to health care and education. And for the women of my own country who are being brutally suppressed in the most vicious manner, I wish a society without violence, oppression and without gender-specific violence."
I understand that, On 14th November 2010, Navid Mohebbi was charged with involvement with the One Million Signatures Campaign which advocates for freedom and equality for women, as well as being charged with acting against national security, propaganda against the state through connection with foreign media and insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic and the current leader.
Navid was previously arrested after attempting to organise events for International Women's Day in Iran, in 2008.
I understand that, on the most recent occasion, Navid was held in solitary confinement for over a month because he refused to 'show remorse' for his actions. Furthermore, Navid's lawyer was apparently not present at the trial and Navid was denied his right to legal counsel.
Navid is now reported to be held incommunicado in prison, with dangerous prisoners, in overcrowded and insanitary conditions, with no access to health services.
Reports say that Navid is denied family visits and that his family are under pressure not to contact the media or to publicise the case.
It would seem that anyone close to Navid Mohebbi would be in danger if they were to appeal for justice on his behalf.
Therefore I write, as a concerned global citizen, to implore you to do all within your capacity to ensure that Navid Mohebbi is released immediately and unconditionally, in line with international treaties relating to human rights, international law and freedom of speech.