THE OBSERVATORY - PRESS
IRAN: Supporter of “Mourning Mothers”, Ms.
sentenced to 4.5 years of prison
Paris-Geneva, April 5, 2012. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World
Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), deplores the sentencing of human rights
defender Ms. Mansoureh Behkish and calls for an end to her judicial
On April 3, 2012, Ms. Mansoureh Behkish, a supporter of the “Mothers of Laleh Park” (the “Mourning Mothers” of
Iran), also known for fighting against the death penalty, was informed
that she had been sentenced to four years and six months of imprisonment. Branch
15 of the Islamic Revolution Court, which heard the case on December 25, 2011,
sentenced her to four years on charge of “assembly and collusion against
national security through the establishment of the Mourning Mothers” and six
months on charge of “spreading propaganda against the system”. Ms. Mansoureh
Behkish, who remained free on the date of publication, intends to appeal the
The Observatory recalls that on June 12, 2011, Ms. Mansoureh Behkish
was arrested by a group of security agents in a street of Tehran at 8 p.m.,
before being released on bail on July 9, 2011. In addition, Ms. Behkish was
subjected to several interrogations and arbitrary detentions in the past as a
result of her human rights activities.
In Iran, supporters of the “Mourning Mothers” are particularly
targeted with harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention. In November 2011, Ms.
Jila Karamzadeh-Makvandi, Ms. Leyla Seyfollahi and Mr. Nader Ahsani were sentenced to two years of prison on charges of “assembly and
collusion to commit crimes against the national security and propaganda against
the State”. The court ruling accused them of involvement in the establishment of
“an illegal organisation against the national security, namely the Mourning
Mothers” and claiming to be “human rights defenders”. Ms. Jila Karamzadeh
Makvandi was arrested on December 27, 2011 and taken to Evin Prison to serve her
sentence, where she remains to this date.
“The authorities criminalise all those who act for the request of human rights and
attempt to stifle any kind of human rights work in the country”,
says Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. “The
international community must denounce strongly this worrying
authorities in Iran are doing their utmost to marginalise human rights defenders
by imposing heavy sentences of imprisonment, exile, and ban on professional
practice. Prisoners of conscience and other political prisoners are consistently
subjected to torture and other ill treatment as well as the death penalty. All
this is aimed to intimidating the whole society into a deadly
adds Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.
The Observatory believes that the sentence against Ms. Mansoureh Behkish merely aims at intimidating her and impeding her from carrying out her human rights activities. More generally, it also aims at intimidating all human rights defenders in Iran.
Observatory therefore urges the Iranian authorities to immediately and
unconditionally put an end to the judicial harassment against Ms. Mansoureh Behkish and
release all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained, and more generally to
conform to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights instruments
ratified by Iran.
For further information, please contact:
FIDH: Arthur Manet : + 33 1 43 55 25 18
Delphine Reculeau : + 41 22 809 49 39