The RAHA Human Rights awards will be granted this Friday to Narges Mohammadi, Bahareh Hedayat, Atena Farghadani, Atena Daemi, Saeed Madani, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and Maryam Shafipour, honouring their work to support human rights in Iran.
Narges Mohammadi is the prominent human rights defender and Deputy Head of the now shuttered Defenders of Human Rights Center. She was elected as President of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Peace in Iran, a broad coalition against war and for the promotion of human rights. She has campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty, human rights and women’s freedom, with personal courage and despite repeated serious infringements of her freedom. On May 5, 2015, Mohammadi was again arrested and is currently serving six years imprisonment sentences.
Bahareh Hedayat is a human rights advocate for student and women’s. While studying at the Economic and Finance University of Tehran, she became increasingly involved in student activism in support of democracy and reform. She also played a leading role in founding the Women’s Commission of the student movement in 2005 in order to encourage a larger participation among female students and promote gender equality. As a result of her message to the university students in Europe in 2009 she was arrested on December 30, 2009. After spending six years in, she has completed serving her sentences but she is still kept unlawfully in detention. While in jail, Hedayat has also been given an extra six months for writing a letter about the situation of other student activists.
Atena Farghadani is a young Iranian artist and political activist, currently being kept in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for her art and peaceful activism. She was first arrested in 2014 after meeting with the families of political prisoners and drawing a cartoon of Iranian parliamentarians with animal faces. In 2015 Atena Farghadani was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison.
Atena Daemi is a young children's and human rights defender who has advocated for the rights of children in Kobane and Gaza, for women's rights and against capital punishment. Due to her work she has to serve seven years in prison.
Saeed Madani is an Iranian sociologist, journalist, writer and human rights activist. He has been detained several times since 1994 for his work as a sociologist and for his membership collaboration with the Center for Defense of Human Rights, the establishment and membership of the Committee of Arbitrary Detention, the establishment and membership of the Committee to Defense of Freedom and Fair Elections, the establishment of the Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists, publishing numerous critical articles about the regime, collaboration with the Coordination Council of the Green Path Party and numerous articles to support the Green Movement. On February 19, 2014 the Islamic Revolution Court sentenced Saeed Madani to six year imprisonment.
Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is a labour’s and children’s rights activist and has been sentenced by the Iranian Judiciary to 9.5 years in prison at a time when Mr. Ebrahimzadeh was months shy of finishing his prison sentence of five years for his labour rights activities. The new charges were “holding connection with Ahmed Shaheed (the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran) and with one of the political organizations. The seven recipients were selected by a special jury comprising the Nobel Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi as chairwomen, the co-founder and principal investigator of the Freedom Rights Project and former executive director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights Aaron Rhodes and the Südwind board member and human rights lawyer Karolina Januszewski.
Maryam Shafipour is an Iranian student activist and was sentenced in March 2014 to seven years in prison for her human rights activities. She was a member of the women's committee of Mehdi Karroubi's campaign for president in the June 2009 and of the Committee to Defend the Right, advocating for the rights of university students barred from higher education because of their activism. In April 2009 she started to work with the Shahrvandy Committee, to financially support political prisoners. Additionally she wrote for the Saham News to cover the news on political prisoners.