Nargess Mohammadi, Head of the Implementation Task Force of the National Council of Peace and Soraya Azizpanah a member of the National Peace Council were barred from travel earlier today while en-route to Guatemala to attend an international Conference on Women. According to the site of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, these two civil society activists were scheduled to participate as speakers in an international conference organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, titled “Women Redefining Democracy for Peace, Justice and Equality,” scheduled to take place on May 10-12, 2009. Mohammadi was scheduled to deliver a speech at the event, which includes participants from over 30 countries, on the “Role of Women and Democracy in Iran” and Azizpanah was to discuss the role of “Women and Democracy in the Region.”
These activists were prevented from travel despite the fact that they had made it through the passport control check point, and were about to board the plane. Other social, political and cultural activists have been barred from travel in a similar manner as they left the country to attend international conferences.
Nargess Mohamadi is the Deputy Chair of the Defenders of Human Rights Center and is active in the press and on women’s rights. She received the Alexander Langer International Award in 2009 in recognition of her activities in these areas. The Alexander Langer Foundation, is a non-governmental entity, based in Italy, which was established in 1999 and is focused on promoting human rights, social justice and peace. Nargess Mohammadi is scheduled to receive this award in July during the European Festival on the Mediterranean. Sorraya Azizpanah serves as the director of the Center for Mine Cleanup, an NGO focused on the needs and challenges of citizens in five mine infested provinces in Iran. These border provinces were infested with mines as a result of the 8 year war between Iran and Iraq. Azizpanah is also the Chief Editor of the Kurdish-Persian publication, “Rassaan.”
After being barred from travel at the Imam Khomeni International Airport, the passports of these two civil society activists was confiscated and they have been summoned to appear at the Revolutionary Courts to follow-up the case.