Britain’s Teachers call for release of women political prisoners in Iran

Britain’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Union (NEU), has supported CODIR’s campaign for the release of women political prisoners in Iran!

Following CODIR’s launching of a campaign drawing attention to the plight of several women detained in Evin Prison in Iran in March 2021 and calling for the release of all political prisoners in the country; the NEU wrote to Iran’s Ambassador to the UK to protest the issues raised by the campaign and copied the letter to the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab.

This campaign has served to significantly further awareness of these issues and bring pressure to bear upon the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran – making the situation significantly more difficult for them to cover up and ignore as they would prefer.

Below we reprint the letter sent by the NEU to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mr Hamid Baeidinejad

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

6 Prince’s Gate




23 March 2021

Dear Ambassador,

Campaign for the Release of Women Political Prisoners in Iran

As the joint general secretaries of the National Education Union (UK), we write this letter to express our deep concern about the treatment of women political prisoners in Iran.

We are particularly concerned about the harassment, arrest and imprisonment of women for defending human rights. These include the prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose detention has been described as arbitrary, unlawful and disproportionate by UN experts; Marzieh Amiri, a journalist who was detained after attending an international workers’ day rally in Tehran; Niloufar Bayani, who is serving a 10-year sentence after an unfair trial, for her conservation work; and Atena Daemi, who is currently incarcerated for condemning the execution of political prisoners, after serving a five year sentence in connection to her advocacy work on the rights of children. Many other women have been arrested and imprisoned for campaigning for gender equality.

On 2 March 2021 eight political prisoners in the women’s ward of Evin Prison spoke of their concern at the total lack of any attention to the health and safety of the inmates. In his recent report to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran described the conditions in prisons as overcrowded and unhygienic, and highlighted the denial of access to adequate and prompt medical treatment, which is of particular concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also expressed deep concern at the high use of the death penalty, particularly against protestors.

We request that you urge the government of Iran to protect women’s rights by taking immediate steps to:

  • End gender-based oppression in Iran;
  • End the violent suppression of women’s rights activists;
  • Release all political prisoners, including women human rights defenders, with immediate effect.

Thank you for your consideration.

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