Name: Bahareh Hedayat, Women’s Rights Activist, Student Activist, One Million Signature Campaign / Change for Equality, Advar Alumni Association (Tahkim-e Vehdat), Chair of the Women’s Commission, Office for the Consolidation of Unity (OCU)
Age: 29 (Born April 5, 1981)
Charges: “Propagation against the regime,” “Active participation in gatherings after the elections,” “Interviews with and news propagation to foreign press,” “Insulting the Leader,” “Insulting the President,” “Mutiny and congregation and actions against national security”
Sentence: 9 years prison
Bahareh Hedayat (whose first name means “spring”) is a student and women’s right activist who, along with many other women’s rights advocates, helped launch the One Million Signatures Campaign in 2006 to pressure authorities to reform laws discriminatory against women.
In 2001, she began her studies in economics at Tehran University and quickly became an active member of the Student Union. She was elected as a chair a year later, and in 2003 became one of the leading female students protesting the execution sentence of a university professor.
Bahareh has been an active female student union leader despite the ongoing oppression; however, she continued to further the cause by expanding the student union’s work and establishing a link to European organizations. She has been taking up the causes of her fellow students since 2002, even in the face of pressure, torture, and continued solitary confinement.
She has been detained several times. On July 13th 2008, she was rearrested. After spending a month in solitary confinement, under severe pressure, she was temporarily released again. Bahareh was arrested once again in mid-March of 2009 for participating in a peaceful gathering in front of Evin Prison held by the families of prisoners of conscience. The gathering was organized to commemorate the arrival of Nowruz, but was put down by intelligence service.
The police tried unsuccessfully to arrest her twice by invading her house (once on June 15th and once again in September). She was arrested on December 31st 2009, shortly after delivering a message to the European Students.
Bahareh was nominated to receive the Student Peace Prize by the European Student Union. The group’s website explains their decision to nominate Bahareh for the Student Peace Prize:
”Bahare Hedayat’s extraordinary courage and her persistent defense of students’ right to freedom of speech and expression are the reasons we are nominating her for the Student Peace Prize 2011.”
According to this source, security sources have been putting pressure on Bahareh Hedayat and other imprisoned members of the Daftar e Tahkim e Vahdat student organization to announce the organization’s dissolution.
She is reported to be held in Ward 209 of the notorious Evin Prison. Bahareh has been told by the Tehran Prosecutor that her 16-count indictment against her includes heavy charges such as propagating and depicting a dark image of the regime. In May 2010, Bahareh was dealt a 9.5 year prison term.
Sources & Additional Information
Change for Equality http://bit.ly/aRUgh5
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – Draconian Prison Sentences Doled out for Activists http://bit.ly/baugPB
Milaud Asadi and Bahareh Hedayat Transferred to Section 350 and Women’s Ward inside Evin Prison | Iran Human Rights Voice http://bit.ly/cwRBWcF
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – 16 separate charges and continued pressure on Bahareh Hedayat for televised confessions http://bit.ly/9zEyLQ
ESU nominates imprisoned Iranian activist for Student Peace Prize http://bit.ly/cWf8gq