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Awid supports Free Sarah Campaign Leading Women's Organisation says 'Take Action'


Sarah Shourd was held in solitary confinement in Evin prison, in Iran, for 410 days until her release on bail on 14th September 2010, after a world-wide campaign.

Sarah's fiance Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal were finally released the following year, on 21st September 2011.

18 August 2010

Following a successful submission by SafeWorld, The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) posted an urgent appeal for action.

Speaking from her home in Brazil, Fer Amaral, trustee of SafeWorld said:

"Sarah's inhumane treatment at the hands of the Iranian authorities is something each and everyone of us should be shocked by.

The fact that this innocent woman is spending her 2nd year in solitary confinement, with serious worries for her health, should be a matter of international attention and immediate action. We are very grateful to AWID for their support and hope many other women's organisations will follow suit."

United Nations Acknowledges Sarah Shourd's Treatment is Torture

18 August 2010 - AWID

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture has sent an Urgent Appeal to the Iranian Authorities on Sarah's behalf. Sarah has been in solitary confinement since July 2009.

Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:Solitary confinement is an extreme and potentially harmful measure... Periods in solitary confinement should be as short as possible.

For more than a year, Sarah has been living in a cell measuring about 2 metres by 3 metres. She has one small window high up in the wall, too high to see out of, and in her door is a tiny hatchway, which is kept closed. To use the bathroom, Sarah has to ring a bell and then the guards take her, blindfolded, along the corridor.

Sarah has pre-cancerous cervical cells and has developed a breast lump. Results of tests taken several months ago have been withheld. Sarah is being denied medical care and monitoring. There has been no assessment of the state of her mental health.

Sarah has approximately one hour a day in an exercise yard with her two fellow captives, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. Withdrawal of this privilege is used as a punitive measure for 'bad' behaviour.

Sarah has 15 minutes of television a day (sometimes withdrawn as a punishment) and has limited reading material. Access to writing materials were withdrawn in April, possibly as a punishment when Sarah threatened to go on hunger strike.

Sarah's mother, Nora, writes to her daily but Sarah only receives some of her letters, and only about once every two months. Letters from other family and friends do not reach her and Sarah has never been able to send any letters herself.

Sarah has been allowed 2 phone calls, one in March and one at the end of July, and one family visit. The visit by her mother took place in May, amidst worldwide media attention. They had no really private time, apart from visiting the bathroom together when Sarah was able to show Nora her breast lump.

The Swiss Consulate have been permitted by the Iranian Authorities to visit on 3 occasions, in September and October 2009 and then again in April 2010. Sarah has had no other visitors.

Over the last 12 months, accusations of espionage have been made by Iranian government sources. In addition, official Iranian media channels have repeatedly broadcast false information that the 3 prisoners have been charged with espionage.

Iran was one of the first countries in the world to ratify the ICCPR, in 1975. The ICCPR entered into force in 1976 and is legally binding on all signatory parties. Its provisions are interpreted and its implementation monitored by the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC).

Under Article 40 of the ICCPR, all State parties to it are required to periodically submit a report on their compliance with the ICCPR.

Two articles of the ICCPR relate directly to the treatment of prisoners and prison conditions, including solitary confinement.

The UN Human Rights Committee has stipulated that use of prolonged solitary confinement may also amount to a breach of Article 7 of the ICCPR.

Source: A Safe World for Women Campaign.