November 11, 2008 / 12:06 PM / 11 years ago

Iranian-American student freed on bail in Tehran

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An Iranian-American female student held on security-related charges in Tehran has been freed on bail after almost four weeks in detention, a relative said Tuesday.

The relative, who declined to be named, said Esha Momeni was released Monday but did not give further details. She was detained while visiting Iran from the United States to see family and to research the women’s movement.

The website of a campaign lobbying for an end to what activists see as discrimination of women in the Islamic Republic said Momeni had been kept in solitary confinement since October 15.

The site, www.forequality.info, said a deed to her family’s home was posted as bail. There was no immediate comment from the judiciary.

“It is good news, definitely,” women’s right activist Sussan Tahmasebi told Reuters, confirming Momeni’s release on bail.

The judiciary last week said she was accused of acting against national security, a common charge against dissenting voices in Iran. The campaign’s website quoted another official as saying the charge was “propaganda against the state.”

Women’s rights activists say Momeni had interviewed campaigners for a film as part of her studies in California when she was detained and transferred to Tehran’s Evin prison.

Activists say dozens of them have been detained since they launched the campaign in 2006 to collect 1 million signatures in support of demands to change laws which they say deny women in Iran equal rights in matters such as divorce and child custody.

Most were freed after a few days or weeks.

Western diplomats see the detentions as part of a clampdown on dissent by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government as it faces Western pressure over its disputed nuclear program.

Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Elizabeth Piper

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