Communications grad student arrested in Iran while working on women’s rights documentary

Danielle Directo

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A 28-year-old communications grad student working on her master’s degree thesis in Iran about the country’s women’s rights movement was arrested by Iranian police and detained without bail last week.

Esha Momeni, who had been filming interviews of women’s rights advocates in Tehran, was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 15 after she was pulled over on Moddaress highway in Tehran for allegedly passing another vehicle illegally, said Change for Equality, a women’s rights organization, in a statement.

After her arrest, authorities drove Momeni to her home and confiscated her video recordings and computer and searched the house, said Dr. Melissa Wall, adviser for the journalism graduate program who also sat on Momeni’s thesis committee.

Momeni is ‘being held in solitary confinement, she’s not allowed to have contact with her parents,’ said Anayansi Prado, a filmmaker and friend who had been mentoring Momeni on the documentary.’ ‘She’s being held in one of the most notorious prisons of the world,’ said Prado, who spoke with Momeni on Monday, Oct. 13, two days before her arrest.

Iranian authorities ensured Momeni’s family she would be released swiftly, provided that ‘her arrest was not published,’ said Change for Equality.

More as the the story develops…