Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Silva Harouonian, Armenian Aid Worker in Iranian Prison

The following letter is from a friend of mine, who reports that Silva Harotonian, a young Armenian woman working as an administrative assistant with an Armenian NGO focused on maternal and child health issues in Iran, was detained last year by Iranian authorities on wrongful -- and unexplained -- charges of conspiring to instigate a revolution. She sits in prison over 8 months later, her case still pending. Please take a moment to visit the site to read about the situation, and if you feel so compelled, to sign the petition that her organization will be presenting to the Government of Iran on her behalf.


IREX confirms that one of our employees, Silva Harotonian, a 33 year old Iranian citizen who had been living in Armenia, is among those people wrongly detained in Iran. She was arrested on June 26, 2008 and has been in prison since then. She is not a medical specialist and was employed by our office in Yerevan and traveled to Tehran to facilitate an exchange program that would increase cooperation between Iran and the US in regards to maternal and child health issues, benefiting the citizens of both countries on an issue of universal interest.

IREX, a non-governmental, nonprofit organization, has worked on academic and people-to-people exchange programs for over 40 years. IREX has offered exchange programs for professionals from over 50 countries, including many Islamic nations. This program, and our employee, were not part of any effort to work against the Iranian government.

We are pursuing every legal avenue available so that our employee’s case can be reviewed, her innocence confirmed, and she can be released to be with her family as soon as possible. In the meantime, IREX needs your help. We have printed 1,500 flyers that need to be distributed to as many people as possible with the aim of increasing traffic to a web site dedicated to Silva The electronic version is attached. Please post these flyers wherever possible (in your places of employment and at places you frequent often). We also need volunteers to distribute flyers in and around high traffic areas in Yerevan and the regions. If you are interested, please let me know via email. Finally, make sure you visit and register.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Otherwise I look forward to hearing from many of you - and thank you in advance for helping secure the release of Silva, a colleague and fellow Armenian.


Arina Zohrabian
Director/Senior Education Programs Manager
Deputy Regional Director
IREX Armenia
16 Vardanants Street
Yerevan, Armenia 0010
DIR: (374 10) 52 66 49
MOB: (374 91) 43 65 17
TEL: (374 10) 52 66 21, 52 66 23, 52 66 42

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