Free Iranian Journalist Hengameh Shahidi

Hengameh Shahidi is a freelance journalist and a women's rights activist. Today she is in Tehran's Evin Prison.

Hengameh was arrested at the beginning of June 2009 following widespread demonstrations challenging the results of the presidential election. For the first 50 days of her detention, she was held in solitary confinement and feared constantly that she was about to be executed. Her captors left her in a room with ropes and knives, which she felt was intended to drive her to commit suicide.

Hengameh admitted to having participated in two demonstrations as a journalist. She was sentenced to six years' imprisonment in December 2009 for "gathering and colluding with intent to harm state security" and "propaganda against the system."

Amnesty International believes that the charges against Hengameh in no way justify her imprisonment. Amnesty is calling for her release because she is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression.
Your Excellency,

I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Hengameh Shahidi as she is a prisoner of conscience held only for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and association. Until her release she must be treated humanely and be allowed regular access to a lawyer and to her family.

I call for an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into reports that Hengameh Shahidi was tortured in detention and for anyone found responsible for torture or other ill-treatment to be brought to justice promptly and fairly.

In addition, I urge a review of articles of the Penal Code which restrict freedoms of association, of expression, and of peaceful assembly so they are fully compatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
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