An appeals court in Iran's West Azerbaijan province has confirmed the four-year prison sentence of Kurdish women's rights activist Zeinab Bayzeydi. The twenty-six-year-old Ms. Bayzeydi was active in the "One Million Signature" campaign, launched in 2006, to end legal discrimination against Iranian women.
The signature campaign is supported by Iranian human rights defender and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi. It is addressed to Iran's Parliament and calls for a number of reforms, including equal rights for women in marriage and divorce, the right of women to pass on nationality to their children, equal inheritance rights for women, equal treatment of women and men in court testimony, and revision of other laws that discriminate against women in Iran.
Zeinab Bayzeydi is not the only women's rights activist being detained by the Tehran regime. Hana Abdi, a psychology student, was arrested November 4, 2007 at her grandfather's home in Sanandaj. For three months she was held incommunicado by Iranian authorities. In June of this year, she was sentenced to five years in prison, to be served in exile in the small town of Germi in Eastern Azerbaijan province.
The independent human rights monitoring group, Amnesty International, says Ms. Abdi is "a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression and association, and that the charge brought against her is politically motivated."In a report released in July, Amnesty International called attention to the Tehran regime's human rights abuses against Iran's Kurdish minority, especially human rights defenders. The report notes that Iranian Kurdish women face "a double challenge to have their rights recognized – as members of a marginalized ethnic minority, and as women in a predominately patriarchal society."
For its part, the U.S. supports efforts by the international community and the Iranian people to grant all Iranians, regardless of ethnic group, religion, or sex, equality before the law and the free exercise of their fundamental human rights.