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Women's Rights Activist and Lawyer Violently Arrested in Iran, Says Amnesty International

WASHINGTON -   Amnesty International
fears the wave of arrests of civil society activists in Iran is intensifying
after lawyer and human rights activist, Shadi Sadr, was violently arrested
in Tehran this morning on her way to Friday prayers.

Shadi Sadr was walking with a group of women's
rights activists along a busy road when unidentified plain clothed men
pulled her into a car. She lost her headscarf and coat in the ensuing struggle
but managed briefly to escape. She was quickly recaptured and beaten with
batons before being taken away in the car to an unknown location.

"This was an illegal, arbitrary and violent
arrest in which no attempt was made by the authorities to show identification
or provide any explanation for their action," said Malcolm Smart, Director
of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program."

"This is the latest of a continuing series
of high profile arrests of Iranians - students, journalists, intellectuals,
political and civil society activists - in the wake of protests over the
disputed outcome of the presidential election."

Amnesty International is calling for Shadi
Sadr to be immediately and unconditionally released.

Shadi Sadr is the defense lawyer of Shiva
Nazar Ahari, a human rights defender and member of the Committee of Human
Rights Reporters, who was arrested at her home in Tehran on June 14, 2009,
shortly after the presidential election, by security officials who searched
her house and took away personal items.  She is now believed to be
held in Section 209 of Tehran's Evin Prison where Shadi Sadr, her lawyer,
had not been able to gain access to her.


Shadi Sadr, lawyer and journalist, was the
director of Raahi, a legal advice center for women until it was closed
down. She founded Zanan-e Iran (Women of Iran), the first website dedicated
to the work of Iranian women's rights activists (
and has written extensively about Iranian women and their legal rights.
She has represented activists and journalists, several women sentenced
to execution, whose convictions were subsequently overturned.  She
is also involved in Women's Field, a group of women's rights activists
who have launched several campaigns to defend women's rights, including
the "Stop Stoning Forever" campaign.

Shadi Sadr was among 33 women arrested in
March 2007.  Most had gathered outside a Tehran courtroom to protest
peacefully against the trial of five women - Fariba Davoudi Mohajer, Shahla

Entesari, Noushin Ahmadi Khorassani, Parvin
Ardalan and Sussan Tahmasebi - who were accused of "propaganda against
the system", "acting against national security" and "participating
in an illegal demonstration" in connection with the June 12, 2006 demonstration.
Four of those on trial were also among those arrested, along with Shadi
Sadr, a lawyer. Initially held in the Vozara detention center, some were
later transferred to Evin Prison. Most were released after several days,
but Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh - who is also involved in
the "Stop Stoning Forever" campaign - were held for over two
weeks before being released on bail.


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