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Thread: Esha Momeni

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Esha Momeni

    Free Esha!

    Petition for the immediate release of Esha Momeni

    We strongly encourage all readers to sign the following petition addressed to senior figures in the Islamic Republic of Iran and demand Esha Momeni's immediate release . Additionally please, forward the link to others:

    We, the undersigned, have heard with great alarm of the arrest in Tehran, on Wednesday October 15, 2008, of Esha Momeni, a graduate student in film and communication at California State University, Northridge.

    This arrest was made by Tehran traffic police on the pretext that she had made an illegal turn, but we have since been informed that she has been transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison and kept in solitary confinement.

    We wish to make clear that at no time has Ms. Momeni been involved in any activities contravening the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She had returned to Iran for an extended visit mainly for the purpose of seeing family and friends, and also in order to carry out research related to her MA degree at California State University, Northridge.

    Ms. Momeni, a women's rights defender and a volunteer of the California branch of a grassroots campaign called the "One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws", decided to make her Master's thesis project a personal exploration of the shared experiences of everyday Iranians. This included interviews with some members of the Campaign.

    The activities of the Campaign are peaceful and merely aimed at reforming the Iranian laws in areas that discriminate against women; the Campaign has no political objectives.

    Those who are privileged to know Ms. Momeni are fully aware of the sincerity and passion for justice which she brings to the promotion of a truer image of Iran outside the country, and we are therefore dismayed that she should have been arrested and detained despite not having engaged in any unlawful activities.

    We, the undersigned, therefore demand Ms. Momeni be released immediately and without conditions so that she can return to complete her education. In addition we urge you to:

    1 -- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Esha Momeni;

    2 -- Assure that while in detention she is granted immediate and regular access to her family, a lawyer of her choice, and any medical treatment necessary in light of her medical condition (kidney stones);

    3 -- Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Iran .

    Sign petition:

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Esha Momeni
    Take action to free equality activist

    California graduate student and artist, has been detained by the Iranian police and held for over a week without any charges. Take action:

    [ame=""]YouTube - Free Esha Momeni[/ame]

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    طرح اتهام امنیتی علیه دانشجوی ایرانی-آمریکایی

    خانم مومنی که متولد آمریکاست برای تحقیق به ایران سفر کرده بود
    مقام های قضایی ایران 21 روز پس از بازداشت یک دانشجوی ایرانی-آمریکایی به دلیل "تخلف رانندگی" و انتقال وی به زندان اوین او را رسما به "اقدام علیه امنیت ملی" متهم کرده اند.

    عشا مومنی، 28 ساله، که شهروند آمریکا و دانشجوی دانشگاه ایالتی کالیفرنیاست، پس از سفر به ایران برای تحقیق درباره جنبش زنان به عنوان بخشی از تحصیلات دانشگاهی خود دستگیر شد.

    اکنون علیرضا جمشیدی سخنگوی قوه قضاییه ایران در اولین اظهار نظر رسمی درباره پرونده خانم مومنی گفته است که وی در زندان اوین نگاهداری می شود.

    به گزارش منابع خبری ایران وی در یک کنفرانسی خبری گفت: "اتهام وی اقدام عليه امنيت است و پرونده فعلا در مرحله* تحقيقات مقدماتی است و اكنون وی در زندان اوین نگهداری می*شود."

    وی جزئیات بیشتری درباره این پرونده ارائه نکرد.

    به گزارش خبرگزاری رویتر سوسن طهماسبی فعال حقوق زنان در ایران درباره پرونده خانم مومنی گفت: "مسلما غیرموجه است.... وی هیچ خطایی مرتکب نشده. امیدواریم به زودی آزاد شود."

    وی گفت که خانم مومنی در آمریکا متولد شده و دارای تابعیت ایران و آمریکاست.

    فعالان حقوق زن در ایران در سال های اخیر با برخوردهای مکرر سازمان های امنیتی و قضایی جمهوری اسلامی مواجه شده و ده ها تن از آنها بازداشت شده اند. اکثر این افراد چند روز پس از بازداشت آزاد شده اند.

    خانم مومنی در دانشکده ارتباطات، رسانه ها و هنرهای دانشگاه ایالتی کالیفرنیا در نورتریج در حومه لس آنجلس تحصیل می کند و برای دیدار با خانواده و کار به روی مدرک فوق لیسانس به ایران سفر کرده بود.

    بنابه گزارش ها مقام های امنیتی ایران محل سکونت او را بازرسی و بخشی از تعلقات او از جمله فیلم هایی که بخشی از پروژه مطالعاتی او بود را ضبط کرده اند.

    به گفته محمد علی دادخواه، وکیل خانم مومنی، او روز 15 اکتبر به جرم تخلف رانندگی در تهران دستگیر شد.

    دولت آمریکا از سفارت سوئیس در تهران خواسته است اطلاعات بیشتری درباره خانم مومنی کسب کند.

    ایران سال گذشته چهار ایرانی تابع آمریکا را به ظن مشارکت در مقدمه چینی یک "انقلاب مخملی" بازداشت کرد. هر چهار نفر بعدا آزاد شده و ایران را ترک کردند.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Reporting from Tehran and Beirut -- She escaped an unhappy marriage and the restraints of a traditional society, finding solace in poetry and a calling in women's rights activism in the West.

    But the drama of contemporary Iran continued to tug at her. After living in her native Southern California for the last three years, Esha Momeni returned to Tehran two months ago to videotape interviews for a project on women's rights. Amid a crackdown on such activities, she was playing with fire.
    Momeni, 28, was abruptly arrested two weeks ago. On Tuesday, she was still being held for interrogation in Section 209, the notorious security ward of Iran's Evin prison. She had been allowed to make only one phone call to her family, her father and lawyer told The Times.

    Her lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, said Momeni was being denied access to legal counsel as a "temporary detainee," a condition that could last two months.

    Before her arrest, Momeni had been scheduled to head back to California on Monday, her father said.

    "The last time I talked to my daughter was one day after her arrest," said Reza Momeni, 60, a Tehran civil engineer. "She called me and said: 'Dad, I miss my family. Please give all my videos to the security guy coming to collect them.' "

    Iranian officials say Esha Momeni is under investigation. No formal charges have been lodged.

    "The relevant institutions and organizations are following the case," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told reporters in Tehran on Monday. "She is under investigation and until the investigation is finalized, we cannot make any comment."

    Before her arrest, Momeni, a Cal State Northridge student, followed a path that differed from much of the rest of Southern California's Iranian diaspora. Whereas many Iranians fled to the United States after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, her family moved back to Iran from the U.S. in the early 1980s.

    Reza Momeni, a U.S. citizen and father of five, was studying in Southern California at the time of the revolution. When war broke out between Iran and Iraq in 1980, he moved his family back home. He helped rebuild damaged sites, working in conflict-ravaged areas around cities such as Bandar Abbas and Bushehr.

    Esha Momeni showed an early passion for the arts, learning to play the tar, a traditional string instrument, and delving into poetry and literature. She graduated from a Tehran college with a degree in graphics and in 2003 married a man her father described as a "male chauvinist" with emotional problems.

    "She had a bad experience," her father said. "Finally she managed to end her ordeal by divorcing him."

    The bitter breakup drove her from arts to activism, specifically women's rights issues. She began participating in the One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality, a group that connects activists in Iran with Iranian communities in the West.

    Activist organizations, many of which advocate peaceful political and social change, greatly irk authorities in the Islamic Republic. Iran accuses them of being fronts for Western powers seeking to topple the government using the "velvet revolution" tactics that contributed to the downfall of regimes in former Soviet states.

    A report issued this month by a United Nations human rights watchdog raised concerns about "an increasing crackdown in the past year on the women's rights movement" in Iran.

    "Women's rights activism is sometimes presented by the Iranian government as being connected to external security threats to the country," the report says.

    On Sunday, security agents blocked Sussan Tahmasebi, a leader of One Million Signatures, from leaving Iran and seized her passport, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

    Momeni moved back to the U.S. after her divorce in 2005. She joined with other scholars and activists working to improve the lot of Iranian women. Their activities sound harmless: gathering signatures for petitions, holding workshops and informing women of their legal rights.

    But Momeni's father says it was sentiment and family, not politics, that lured her back to Iran. "Whenever we talked about Iran she was tempted to come back," he said. "My daughter was not against the political order."

    Against the advice of her academic advisors at Cal State Northridge, she returned two months ago to videotape interviews with women about their lives in Iran for a master's degree project.

    She was stopped Oct. 15 on Modarres Highway, Tehran's main north-south expressway, allegedly for speeding. Soon after she called her father, weeping. "She was scared," he recalled.

    Security officers escorted her home, where they seized her computer before taking her away.

    At a hearing at one of Tehran's Revolutionary Courts, a judge refused to accept the deed to the Momenis' home as bail or allow Dadkhah, a noted attorney, to speak on her behalf. For now, the lawyer has been briefing Momeni's mother on making legal presentations.

    "Every day, first thing in the morning, she goes to the entrance of Revolutionary Court, hoping to see her brought to trial," Reza Momeni said of his wife.

    Dadkhah said he was confident the young woman would be released soon.

    "Based on my experience, these sorts of arrests are conducted by low-level security personnel, rank-and-file personnel," he told The Times. "It takes time before the top officials are involved and settle the case wisely and prudently."

    Reza Momeni noted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted during a visit last month to the U.N. that Iranians were free to say what they wanted.

    "If my daughter makes a film about women's rights because she is proud that Iranian women are asserting their rights," Momeni said, "what is wrong with that?"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    Officials in the United States are looking into the recent arrest of an Iranian-American student in Tehran who was working on a research project on women's rights in Iran.

    Esha Momeni was arrested October 15 in Tehran, Iran, officials said.

    Esha Momeni, a graduate student at California State University-Northridge, was arrested October 15 in Tehran for unlawfully passing another vehicle while driving, according to Change For Equality, an Iranian women's movement.

    "We're seeking additional information about this case," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Wednesday. "We stand with all those in Iran who are working for universal human rights and justice in their countries."

    Momeni, who was born in Los Angeles, California, is a member of Change for Equality's California chapter. She arrived in Tehran two months ago to work on her masters thesis project on the Iranian women's movement, according to the group, which is in touch with Momeni's family in Iran.

    Momeni is being held in a section of Tehran's notorious Evin Prison that is managed by the Intelligence Ministry, the group said. Evin Prison houses many Iranian dissidents and political prisoners, and it is where four Iranian-Americans were held for several months last year. All have been released.

    Iranian officials had promised Momeni's family that she would be immediately released if the news of her arrest was not published, the organization said.

    "While Esha's friends and colleagues were insistent about announcing the news of her arrest immediately, based on requests from her family this news was announced with delay," Change for Equality said on its Web site.

    Momeni's parents decided to release the information after they went to Iran's Revolutionary Court on Sunday -- five days after her arrest -- to inquire about her case, and they were told not to return until the investigation into her case has been completed, according to Change for Equality.

    The Momeni family returned to Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution, but Esha had gone back to the United States several years ago to study for her masters degree, according to a blog post from her journalism professor, Melissa Wall.

    A separate blog calling for her release ( has been established and includes an interview with Wall, who describes her student as "an exceptionally bright person, very creative and artistic." She calls herself "shocked" to hear of Momeni's arrest.

    "I'm aware that such things happen in Iran, but I'm confident that they have nothing to fear from Esha's research project," Wall said. "It is simply an academic exercise, not meant for publication outside of academic circles. I cannot image why she should be held in detention."

    On her personal blog, Wall said, "She is a videographer who was simply interviewing Iranian women. She has broken no laws, has not done anything wrong."

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rasputin's Avatar
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    An Iranian female student, who was arrested in Tehran last month while visiting from the United States, is accused of acting against national security, the judiciary said on Tuesday.

    Women's rights activists say Esha Momeni lives in the United States and was in Iran for research on the women's movement in the Islamic Republic as part of her university studies when she was detained in the capital on October 15.

    In the first comment by the judicial authorities on the case, judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said Momeni was being held in Tehran's Evin prison.

    "The charge against her is crime against national security and her case is currently under preliminary investigation," Jamshidi told a news conference, referring to a common charge against dissenting voices in the Islamic Republic.

    He gave no further details about Momeni or her case.

    Iranian women's rights campaigners said Momeni was working on a film and had interviewed activists in Tehran as part of her studies in California. She came to Iran about two months ago.

    "It is definitely unwarranted ... she hasn't done anything wrong," activist Sussan Tahmasebi said about the accusation against Momeni. "Hopefully she will be released soon."

    She said Momeni was born in the United States and held both Iranian and U.S. citizenship.

    Activists say dozens of them have been detained since they launched a campaign in 2006 to collect 1 million signatures in support of demands to end what they see as legal discrimination of women in Iran.

    Western diplomats see the detentions of women's rights activists as part of a wider clampdown on dissent by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government as it faces Western pressure over its disputed nuclear program.

    Most of the women detained were freed within a few days or weeks. Iran rejects charges of abuse.

    The campaign's website said Momeni was a graduate student of the School of Communications, Media and Arts at California State University and came to Iran to visit her family and to work on a master's degree.

    It said Iranian security officials had searched her home and seized property, including films which were part of her project.

    Women activists in Iran say they face institutionalized discrimination that makes them second-class citizens in divorce, inheritance, child custody and other aspects of life.

    Iran's ruling clerics say women in the country are protected from the sex symbol status they have in the West.

    Iran last year detained four Iranians with dual U.S. citizenship on security-related charges, drawing strong protests from Washington. They were later freed on bail.

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