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Maryam Rajavi (born Maryam Azodanlu in 1953 in Tehran, Iran) is the wife of Massoud Rajavi, a founder of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). She's the "president elect" of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.[1], an umbrella organization of MKO. Following her marriage, she became co-leader of the PMOI along with her husband, and together they made women a main portion of the group's fighting force.

Maryam Rajavi was born in 1953 to a middle class family in Tehran. She has a degree in metallurgical engineering. She speaks English, French and Persian. Mrs. Rajavi became acquainted with the anti-Shah movement in 1970.

In 1982 Maryam Rajavi left Iran for Paris, where the headquarters of the National Council of Resistance was located. In 1993 Rajavi was elected President-Elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella coalition of which the PMOI is the primary member organization.[2] As President-Elect, Rajavi has continued to place women in nearly all of the leadership roles within her resistance movement, and believes that women should have equal opportunity with men to participate in social and political activities.[3]

The Raid of June 17, 2003

On June 17, 2003, over 1,300 French anti-terrorist police, in a coordinated effort, raided the homes of Iranian dissidents and the offices of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Auvers-sur-Oise. Some 165 activists, including Rajavi, were arrested. The French government charged that the Iranian opposition was bringing its base of operations to France, though the NCRI said that the raid was conducted as part of France's appeasement policy towards Iran. Supporters of the NCRI launched protests and hunger strikes, and sought the support of prominent persons. On July 3, 2003, French courts ruled that the government did not have a case to hold Maryam Rajavi or any of the 165 people arrested in prison and all were released.[4]

Several PMOI members had set themselves on fire in protest of the raid; two died from their burns.[5] The PMOI won its legal battle against the EU when the European Court of Justice First Instance ruled in its favour on 12 December 2006. A British court, the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (POAC), also ruled in favour of the PMOI on 30 November 2007. [4]. On May 7, 2008, the UK Court of Appeal verified the POAC ruling, and ordered the government to remove the PMOI from its terror list.[5] On 23 January 2008, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on the terrorist list based on a report by Swiss Liberal Senator Dick Marty ( Paragraphs 54 to 58) which insisted on the removal of PMOI from blacklists. A week later, on 31 January 2008, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Iran which took note of these two verdicts in EU and UK courts. On 7 May 2008, the UK Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, against a decision by the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission to remove the PMOI from the list of groups banned under the Terrorism Act 2000. Lord Phillips, the Lord Chief Justice, said there was no evidence that the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran was currently involved in terrorism.

References

  1. ^ "Chapter 6 -- Terrorist Organizations". US Department of State. 2007. http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2006/82738.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  2. ^ "Profile: Maryam Rajavi." BBC News, 17 June 2003.To this end, she resigned from all her posts in the PMOI. [1]
  3. ^ Rajavi, Maryam. Mysogyny: a Pillar of Religious Fascism.
  4. ^ Recknagel, Charles. "France: Police Arrest Members Of Iran's Armed Opposition, But Why Now?" Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 18 June 2003. [2]
  5. ^ Akbar, Arifa. "Burning with Conviction." The Independent (London), 1 July 2003. [3]

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