Human rights defenders demand the Iranian activist Bahareh Hedayat to be protected

A+ A-

Ukrainian human rights organizations turn the attention of  Ukrainian government to the fate of the Iranian human rights defender Bahareh Hedayat, who has been sentenced to four years and eight months of jail in July of this year for participating in manifestation that mourned the killed in Ukrainian air-plane. 

Few days after the tragedy happened, on January 11, 2020 Bahareh Hedayat twitted. She wrote about her plan to commemorate the deceased passengers of Ukrainian air-plane by the entrance to Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. Commemoration manifestation gathered thousands of participants and became a starting point of a row of protest manifestations against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and against Iran’s Supreme Leader.  

On February 9, 2020 Bahareh Hedayat was arrested at the university following a conversation with university security service representatives. The human rights activist was transported to the pretrial detainment center, where she spent the following 9 days, before being released on bail. The international organization Frontline Defenders made a statement in her support.  

On July 25, 2020, the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Bahareh Hedayat to four years and eight months of jail. She was declared guilty of “assembly and conspiracy aimed at crimes against national security” because of her participation in manifestations that condemned the killing of civilians who were passengers of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 as well as of “propaganda against the state” because of her twitting about the tragedy. The sentence also means two years of prohibition of any political or social activity as well as three months of community service. Bahareh Hedayat has filed for appeal of the sentence and is waiting for it to be considered.  

Bahareh Hedayat has already spent six years in jail for her human rights activity, in particular for participating in the “One million signatures for amending the discriminatory laws against women in Iran” campaign. The campaign demanded an end to the institutionalized discrimination of women in Iran. Hedayat was released in September of 2016 after the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued of an opinion demanding Hedayat’s immediate release.  

Human rights organizations of Ukraine call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine as well as the Members of Parliament of Ukraine, responsible for foreign affairs, to address Iran and ask to stop the criminal persecution of human rights defender Bahareh Hedayat.  

Background info: 

The airplane of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 collapsed on January 8, 2020 in Tehran. 176 individuals died, among them 11 citizens of Ukraine, 82 citizens of Iran, 63 citizens of Canada, 10 citizens of Sweden, 4 citizens of Afghanistan, 3 citizens of Germany, 3 citizens of the UK. Later on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted it was responsible for shooting down the airplane.   

The “Human rights agenda” platform is an informal coalition of human rights organizations that work on resolving the systemic problems of the legislation and practice for the sake of protecting fundamental human rights.  Among the participants of the platform are Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Center for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International Ukraine, Human Rights Center ZMINA, Centre of Law Enforcement Activities Research, No Borders Project, “Euromaidan SOS” and others. Platform’s coordination is performed by the Center for Civil Liberties. Contact e-mail address:

The statement has been supported by: 

Center for Civil Liberties  

Human Rights Center ZMINA 

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group  

Educational Human Rights House 

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union 

Humanitarian Technologies Center AHALAR 

Social Action Centre 

No Borders Project 

Ukrainian Legal Consulting Group 

Open Dialogue Foundation 

Ukrainian Centre of PEN International