Thursday, November 13, 2008

CfHR & MESA Respond to Arrest of Grad Student in Iran

AAA's Committee for Human Rights signed onto a letter [pdf] by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America expressing concern about the recent arrest of Esha Momeni by Iranian police. Momeni, a graduate student in journalism and media studies at California State University--Northridge, was arrested in Tehran following a minor traffic violation. She was not charged with a crime during her arrest, but has since been charged with "acting against national security" and "propagating against the system," the LA Times reported. Police searched Momeni's property and confiscated many of her belongings, including her computer, videotapes, books, and writings. AAA and MESA are concerned that her arrest is related to her research on the women's movement in Iran. According to Amnesty International, she videotaped interviews with members of Change for Equality, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the status of women in Iran by training them in civil disobedience. Momeni has been released on bail, but may not leave the country and will soon stand before a tribunal to face the charges against her.