October 30, 2008, Washington, D.C. – Esha Momeni, an Iranian American graduate student in film and communication at California State University, Northridge, was arrested in Iran on October 15th over an alleged traffic violation and is reportedly being held in Tehran’s Evin prison.
According to a statement released by the University’s President, she was on an extended trip to Iran to visit her family and to work on her Master’s thesis on women’s issues in Iran. Momeni, 28, was born in Los Angeles and holds U.S. citizenship.
Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have reported that Momeni’s family has not been allowed to visit her, and were told by the authorities that no information about the case would be released until their investigation is completed. Most recently, on October 29th the Los Angeles Times quoted Momeni’s lawyer in Iran who indicated that she was being denied access to legal counsel as a “temporary detainee,” a condition that could last two months. Iranian officials have indicated that Momeni is under investigation, and no formal charges have been filed against her.
As an organization that represents the interests of Iranian Americans, PAAIA is seriously concerned about the arrest and detention of Ms. Momeni, and seeks to protect Iranian Americans’ right to immunity from harassment and unlawful detention when traveling outside the United States. As such, PAAIA calls on the authorities in Iran to respect and safeguard the rights, safety and security of all Iranian Americans travelling to Iran, including Ms. Momeni, and to make every effort to bring her case to an expeditious resolution.
For more up to date information and developments concerning Esha Momeni’s detention, please refer to http://for-esha.blogspot.com/.