Monday, March 03, 2008

Women's rights activist barred from travelling to Sweden

A woman facing jail in Iran for speaking out against the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denounced the country's Islamic revolution for "destroying a generation" of Iranians...[more]

Change for Equality: Parvin Ardalan was banned from travel early this morning, March 3, 2008, while on her way to Stockholm, Sweden, to take part in a ceremony in her honor as the recipient of the 2007 Olaf Palme Award. Ardalan, went through the passport check point and boarded the plane without problems, but was forced to depart the plane when security officials prevented the plane from take off, on the excuse that she was banned from travel.

In an interview with Change for Equality, Ardalan explained: "I did not have a travel ban, and during the passport check I was not told as such. But after I boarded the plane, they announced my name and airport security officials boarded the plane. They told Air France officials that I was banned from travel and that I could not exit Iran. They also seized my passport. Instead they gave me an court order, which requires me to turn myself in to the security branch of the passport office within 72 hours."

Ardalan told The Associated Press that the travel ban may be linked to the upcoming international Woman's Day, on March 8. "Usually near March 8, pressure on women activists increases. They (authorities) do not issue gathering permit, they do not allow public halls to host women's gatherings, too," she said.

Iranian officials did not immediate reply to requests for comments on the ban on Ardalan.
Ardalan said the reason given for the ban was that she faced an open court case, referring to her appeal.

The Olaf Palme foundation, which is an independent and non-governmental entity, has awarded its annual 2007 prize to Parvin Ardalan, for her activism on behalf of women and within the Iranian women’s movement.

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