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Iranian Women's Rights Advocate Mahdieh Golroo Released From Jail

Mahdieh Golroo. Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

Mahdieh Golroo. Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

Mahdieh Golroo, an Iranian women's rights activist, was released on a bail of 700 million Toman (about $200,000) on January 27. Golroo spent 93 days in prison, following her arrest in front of the Iranian parliament, where she protested the acid attacks against women in Isfahan. She spent 45 days in solitary confinement in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, known for its detainment and torture of political prisoners.

Last October, a wave of acid attacks against women in Isfahan created a public uproar in Iran. Authorities claimed there were four attacks, but social media users counted more than twice as many. When police failed to respond, protests and social media campaigns against government inaction swept the nation. 

Golroo appeared on a list of jailed media workers and activists published by Global Voices Advocacy earlier this month. Iranian Internet users have stressed the hypocrisy of jailing an activist who merely protested against an incident the government itself has condemned. 

Gissou Nia, the deputy director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, explained in a statement to Global Voices the significance of Golroo's arrest, saying her prosecution is part of a broader effort by the authorities to curtail women's presence in the public sphere. 

While it is a welcome development that Mahdieh Golrou is currently out on bail, her legal process is far from over and her prosecution is part of a broader plan perpetrated by Iranian officials to silence women’s voices. Despite vigorous denials from Iranian officials that the acid attacks that Golrou was protesting prior to her arrest were anything but the work of a rogue criminal, these attacks did not take place in a vacuum. Rather, these violent acts came in the midst of systematic policies, rhetoric and legislation from Iranian officials aimed at curtailing women’s participation in the public space. Golrou’s arrest and the arrests just last week of other women activists who dared to question these developments are simply an effort by Iranian officials to suppress those who are unafraid to openly challenge this anti-women trend.

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